South Carolina Football: Carolina Panthers interested in Gamecock star in NFL Draft

South Carolina football star Xavier Legette has drawn some heavy interest by the nearest NFL team, the Carolina Panthers, as they prepare for April's NFL Draft.
South Carolina football wide receiver Xavier Legette
South Carolina football wide receiver Xavier Legette / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

South Carolina football wide receiver Xavier Legette has been all over NFL Draft projections.

The Mullins, South Carolina native has been included in mock drafts, big boards, and NFL organizational needs profiles anywhere from the 1st round to the 4th round. Most projections now have him somewhere from the middle of the 2nd to the middle of the 3rd, but there are still outliers in either direction.

Legette was not very productive until an absolute breakout of a 5th-year senior campaign in 2023. The big-bodied receiver went off for 1255 yards, the second-best mark in South Carolina football history. Because of his lack of production before this fall, some still have doubts about Legette, even though his remarkable physical tools (measured anywhere from 6'1" to 6'3", weighed at 223 pounds, and ran in the low 4.3s-range in the 40-yard dash while at Carolina) indicate the ability is real.

He had a solid showing at the Senior Bowl in February, but even so, figuring out when in the draft Legette might be taken has been a difficult exercise.

Recently, Legette told Joe Person of The Athletic that he met with the Carolina Panthers twice during the Senior Bowl process.

The Panthers do not have a 1st round pick in this year's NFL Draft (barring a trade), so a pick from the Panthers would mean he was taken after Day 1 of the festivities. They do own the 33rd overall pick, the 65th overall pick, and the 102nd overall pick. Each of those picks are the 1st selection in the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th rounds.

The Panthers have a big need at wide receiver, so a reality in which Xavier Legette is the team's pick at the top of the 2nd or 3rd round makes a lot of sense. Adam Thielen is an aging player at the position, and neither DJ Chark or Jonathan Mingo are real #1 or #2 options at receiver for young quarterback Bryce Young.

Legette profiles like a blend of Chark and Mingo; he has similar size to Mingo and elite speed like Chark. If things work out for him as a pro, Legette could develop into a star at the professional level, and with the considerable amount of South Carolina football fans that double as Carolina Panthers fans, being drafted by the Charlotte-based franchise would be a welcome gift.

Next. South Carolina Football: Xavier Legette brings home another award. South Carolina Football: Xavier Legette brings home another award. dark