Panthers coach Frank Reich hails new acquisition WR Jonathan Mingo and Linebacker DJ Johnson

Carolina Panthers Coach Frank Reich has praised the new acquisitions of wide receiver Jonathan Mingo and linebacker DJ Johnson in the 2023 NFL Draft.

The Panthers selected Mingo in the second round at No. 39 overall and then traded picks No. 93 and No. 132 to move up to No. 80 to pick Johnson in the third round. Reich commented that Mingo was an excellent addition, citing his size, speed, and elite ball skills. Johnson, at 6-4, 260 pounds and running 4.4 in the 40-yard dash, has huge upside, according to Panthers General Manager Scott Fitterer.

What motivated the Carolina Panthers to trade up for linebacker DJ Johnson?

Although Mingo’s college production was solid at Ole Miss, Johnson was not as impressive in his lengthy college career, which began at Miami in 2017 and ended at Oregon in 2022. At age 24, he is only six months younger than Carolina’s star pass rusher Brian Burns. Despite this, the Panthers were determined to improve their pass rush and, upon seeing pass rushers start to come off the draft board, decided to trade up for Johnson, leaving them with only two Day 3 picks Saturday unless they acquire more via another trade.


Mingo and Bryce Young, who have faced off in SEC matchups when Alabama played Mississippi, are familiar with each other, and Mingo expressed his admiration for Young, calling him a game-changer. Mingo also played college football alongside Matt Corral, the current third-string quarterback on the Panthers roster, behind veteran Andy Dalton and Young. Reich commented that Mingo’s elite ball skills make him a great scheme fit and can be moved around to various spots on the offense.


Panthers GM Fitterer commented that the trade for Johnson was the right move based on their board and team needs, despite leaving them with fewer picks.

Johnson’s rare traits, such as his size and speed, make him a force off the edge with huge potential. Johnson began his collegiate career at Miami, converted to tight end, but eventually settled on being a linebacker, culminating in his selection by the Panthers in the third round.


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