Carolina Panthers

Panthers draft picks get jersey numbers, including a couple of surprising choices

Grading Brian Burns, the Panthers’ first-round pick

Jourdan Rodrigue grades the Panthers first-round draft pick, Brian Burns out of Florida State.
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Jourdan Rodrigue grades the Panthers first-round draft pick, Brian Burns out of Florida State.

The Carolina Panthers announced the jersey numbers for their 2019 draft class on Wednesday afternoon, and there were a couple of choices that surprised fans at first glance.

First-round pick defensive end Brian Burns will wear No. 53 while defensive end Christian Miller selected No. 50.

It’s a little unusual to see defensive ends with jersey numbers in the 50s. But keep in mind that these two will also play linebacker in the Panthers’ more multiple, hybrid defense when the team is in a three-man front.

Also, there weren’t a lot of available numbers in the 90s, where defensive ends usually pick. Burns originally wanted No. 99, but that’s taken by starting defensive tackle Kawann Short. Paying Short, who signed a record contract a couple of years ago, for the number as rookies sometimes do seems like a non-starter.

No. 90 is obviously also off the board, because it belongs to newly retired future hall-of-famer Julius Peppers. Nearly every other number in the 90s was taken, and woe to the rookie who asks for No. 58 — that of former longtime star linebacker Thomas Davis, who signed with the Chargers in free agency this spring when Carolina decided not to renew his contract.

A Panthers team writer posted on Twitter that Burns, a big Spider-Man fan, got creative when thinking about his jersey choice. Spiders have eight legs, and five plus three is eight — therefore, the available No. 53 was the choice.

Tackle Greg Little will wear No. 74, the same as when he played at Ole Miss and the same as another former Panthers/Ole Miss, Michael Oher.

Quarterback Will Grier will wear No. 3; running back Jordan Scarlett, 20; tackle Dennis Daley, 65; and receiver Terry Godwin, 17.

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Jourdan has covered the Carolina Panthers as a beat writer since 2016, and froze during Pennsylvania winters as an award-winning Penn State football beat writer before that. A 2014 graduate of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism, she’s on a never-ending quest for trick plays and the stories that give football fans goosebumps.

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