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Panthers select DE Yetur Gross-Matos in second round


The Panthers have selected defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos out of Penn State at No. 38 overall in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

Gross-Matos is the second defensive lineman Carolina has brought in during this year's draft, having selected Derrick Brown at No. 7 overall on Thursday.

A two-year starter, Gross-Matos recorded 19.0 sacks and 37.0 tackles for loss in 38 games. He was a first-team All-Big Ten honoree in both 2018 and 2019, racking up 9.5 sacks and 15 tackles for loss as a junior this past season.

"I think athletically, that's where you find me being a lot different from a lot of other people I'm being compared against," Gross-Matos said Friday night. "I've just always been a tremendous athlete, and thanks to my hard working, I've been able to improve that. I feel like I'm climbing this upward hill. I'm nowhere near the top still, so there's more work to be done."

Similar to Brown, Gross-Matos has positional flexibility along the defensive line. He's played on both the interior and as an edge rusher, and that versatility falls in line with what head coach Matt Rhule said at the about wanting to have "positionless players" on defense.

"I was asked to move all around the front four, so I have no problem going inside or outside and no issue with it preference-wise," Gross-Matos said. "Wherever they need me to be, that's where I'll be at."

Gross-Matos' journey to the NFL has been one of overcoming tragedy, as he lost his father at two years old during a boating accident and his brother was killed by a lightning strike a few years later.

"It kind of put the rest of my life in perspective," Gross-Matos said. "It's just about taking advantage of every opportunity of every second of every day. Give your best and love the people around you. It's made me and my family a very, very close group. I'm just happy to be in this moment with these people and I can't wait to celebrate."

And as he reaches the league, Gross-Matos said he's looking forward to getting after the famous quarterbacks in the NFC South — particularly the one who recently signed with Tampa Bay.

"I think probably everybody would say the GOAT: Tom Brady. I want to sack Tom Brady," Gross-Matos said. "There's no one else you could really want more than Tom Brady."

View photos of Carolina's second-round pick, defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos, out of Penn State.

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