The Carolina Panthers traded their third round pick (no. 69), along with the 148th overall pick, to Seattle. In return getting the final pick in the second round (no. 64). I questioned the trade initially. Who was there that the Panthers had to jump up five spots to get? Was there a feeling this player would not be around at pick 69?
After the Panthers selected two defensive lineman with their first two picks of the 2020 draft, this was the pick to address the secondary. Enter safety Jeremy Chinn at pick 64. The 6 foot 3, 221 pound Southern Illinois Saluki will for sure fill the need at safety, but could also play nickel, and maybe some linebacker. That ability will hopefully lessen the blow for those Carolina fans that wanted Isaiah Simmons instead of Derrick Brown. Matt Rhule has used the term “positionless player” to describe Chinn.
With all that being said, some fans still say the Panthers took a gamble moving up to snag the safety. After talking with his former defensive coordinator/safeties coach Jason Petrino, I think Carolina has struck gold.
Coach Petrino was hired in December of 2018 and it didn’t take long for him to find out what type of player Jeremy was. Shortly after the hiring, Petrino recalls giving Chinn a playbook from his previous school to have him look over during winter break..
“After christmas break we are back at school, and he is already speaking the same language. Oh wow, this kid really spent some time looking at a playbook.”
Coach Petrino says that Chinn’s greatest strength is his overall commitment and the smart choices he’s made to get to this point.
“Just his overall commitment and the things that he chooses. It would be a Friday night in the off-season and let’s just say somebody got in trouble. Hey Jeremy, did you know about this? “No coach, I was in bed by 9:30.” That’s just who he was. He wasn’t chasing that. He would come in on Tuesday before everybody else and would want to know what the third down plan was. He was always a day ahead of our install. He was the quarterback of our defense. His number one strength is commitment. His commitment in the weight room, commitment to taking care of his body, commitment in film work…all that stuff.”
With all the positives that have been said of Chinn, there has to be something negative…right? Petrino was asked that by many scouts and the only thing he could come up with is Chinn’s past injuries rid him of some playing time.
“Other than Jeremy’s freshman year he had missed at least one game each season. He had a major shoulder injury where he landed wrong and tore his labrum. That caused him to miss the last three games of his junior year. He had a weird foot injury this year, which caused him to miss two games. Since the season got over and he did the training, everything is fine.”
Every NFL team wants players that are a great locker room presence. It is evident that Jeremy’s play on the field is outstanding, but how was he in the locker room, around teammates, and around other coaches?
“You can ask every single person in this athletic building, who is the leader of our football program and the answer was Jeremy Chinn. A military group came and did a two-day boot camp. In those drills they kind of set you up to fail. They rode the players hard through the drills and when things got tough for that player, they would want Chinn to step in for them. Every player went to Chinn.”
Petrino recalls draft night and how everything went down. It was getting late in the second round and Coach figured Jeremy would be chosen at any moment.
“Chinn had a zoom thing set up and he had invited coaches and teammates. I’m sitting there with my kids and we’re kind of following along. The computer was to my right and the TV was in front of me and I was just watching. I was stressed, I was nervous, and all the sudden I looked over and he was taking a phone call. At the time the Chiefs were up, followed by the Seahawks. Everybody was thinking Chiefs. Our corners coach, who had recruited Chinn out of high school, is a die hard Chiefs fan and he is, of course, fired up. Then the Chiefs announced their pick and it wasn’t him. So all the sudden you see that Seattle is on the clock. At that moment he sends a group message through Zoom that says “Keep Pounding, Carolina here I come”. Then you see the trade announced. He of course celebrated with his family and I sent him a text. I talked with him the next day. What an awesome experience to see all of it unfold.”
I think defensive coordinator Phil Snow and Carolina are going to be very pleased with Jeremy Chinn. His athleticism, versatility, and character will be a positive for the Panthers.
“I’ve coached a lot of really good football players,and I’ve been around really great people that were football players. It Is not a question, he’s the best one I’ve been around.”