It took a little longer than some expected, but Andre Smith was finally drafted on Saturday afternoon. The Carolina Panthers welcomed Smith to their franchise with the 234th overall pick. He was the second linebacker selected by the Panthers in this year’s event.
Smith declared for the draft after his junior season, despite only playing in 2 games before a knee injury ended his college career. He had been considered a break-out candidate on the defensive side of the ball after appearing in 27 games in his first two seasons, earning 12 starts in that span.
In the first game of the season against California, he led the team with 10 tackles and grabbed an interception. The following week, he again had a team-high 10 tackles before he exited with a knee injury against Louisville. His loss was one of the most noticeable injuries in a season full of them, as the Heels stumbled to a 3-9 season.
He recovered in time to earn an invite to the NFL combine, where he was limited with a hamstring injury. He still posted an impressive 4.6 40-yard dash, despite pulling up near the end of the run.
Smith was the second Tar Heel drafted, following MJ Stewart’s selection last night in the second round.
Best of luck to Andre has fights for a spot on the NFL roster this summer.