Carolina Panthers

No. 8 best draft pick in Panthers history: LB Thomas Davis

The Carolina Panthers are a successful, albeit young franchise with only 24 NFL Drafts to analyze. But as the team prepares for draft number 25, we look back at some of the highs and lows along the way.

Here’s the bright side of the NFL Draft, as we visit the 10 best picks in Panthers history:

No. 8 best pick: LB Thomas Davis (2005)

The linebackers in the class of 2005 in one word — ridiculous.

While the Cowboys, Chargers and Chiefs selected future All-Pros in DeMarcus Ware, Shawne Merriman and Derrick Johnson, respectively, the Panthers landed their own All-Pro in Thomas Davis.

Drafted out of Georgia with the No. 14 pick, Davis was a solid starter for Carolina during his first five years in the league, but turned in the best seasons of his career after a three-year stretch where he tore his ACL three times. His return made him the first professional athlete to do so after three such injuries, and he thrived to the tune of three Pro Bowls and a First-Team All-Pro selection in 2015.

Beyond his impact on the field, Davis was a constant presence in the community and one of the most beloved Panthers in franchise history. He signed with the Chargers during the 2019 offseason as Carolina sought to get younger and faster on defense, but it’s hard to imagine his No. 58 jersey won’t end up in the Panthers’ ring of honor.

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Marcel Louis-Jacques covers the Carolina Panthers for the Charlotte Observer, keeping you on top of Panthers news both on the field and behind the scenes. He is a 2014 graduate of Arizona State University and grew up in Sacramento, California.