After a shaky 2022 season in which they landed the number one pick in the USFL draft for the second year in a row, the Michigan Panthers needed to add a lot to their roster to improve in 2023. With the draft complete, the Panthers did just that. Nailing each of their ten picks, adding star power and positional needs, the Panthers are without a doubt on the right path with Mike Nolan at the helm.
2023 Michigan Panthers Draft Class:
1. Jarret Horst, OT, Michigan State:
With the first pick in the USFL draft, the Michigan Panthers made a splash pick, adding Jarret Horst from Michigan State. Simply put, this is my favorite pick in the entire draft. Horst, a six-foot-six, 300-pound tackle, was one of the best linemen in the big ten. His ability to open up holes in the run game should be the biggest draw for this Panthers offense. With one of the better-rushing attacks in the USFL, adding Horst just increases their versatility. With Horst joining the team, running back Reggie Corbin should have a lot more room to work with this upcoming season. The former All-BIG 10 tackle is going to make a difference in Michigan.
2. Tanner Morgan, QB, Minnesota:
With another huge selection, the Michigan Panthers landed Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan. Adding depth to a decent QB room of Josh Love and Eric Barriere, Morgan has the potential to steal the starting spot in 2023. As a majority starter since his freshman season in 2018, Morgan was a field general that led a successful Gopher offense under PJ Fleck. Throwing for over 3,000 yards, Morgan has consistently flashed accuracy and mobility in the pocket but also showed strength and velocity whilst on the move. Possessing tremendous versatility, Morgan will be a threat under center for the Panthers in 2023.
3. Santrell Latham, LB, Southern Mississippi:
With their first defensive selection, the Michigan Panthers snagged Santrell Latham from Southern Mississippi. The All-Sun Belt third team member recorded 81 tackles, 10 for loss, 3.5 sacks, and four pass breakups in 2022. As a do-it-all linebacker, Latham will be able to immediately contribute to the Panthers’ defense. With a prototypical frame of six-foot-two, 203 pounds, Latham was a guy who I believed to have NFL potential. His size and versatility would help fill depth on multiple big league rosters. In the USFL, he is a steal in the third round.
4. DJ Scaife Jr, OG, Miami:
Yet again looking to improve their offensive line, the Michigan Panthers added DJ Scaife Jr, an OG from Miami. Just missing out on a seventh-round projection for the NFL draft, Mike Nolan added another phenomenal piece. At six-foot-three, 322 pounds, Scaife also ran a 5.18-second 40-yard dash. Whilst that doesn’t seem fast, it is extremely quick for a massive guard. With Scaife’s size and speed, Mike Nolan will be able to use him as an aggressive pulling guard on runs. Needing to gain a level of depth and technicality in the pass block, Scaife could work into the starting lineup but should expect to be used in a rotation.
5. DaShaun White, LB, Oklahoma:
Flipping once gain the defensive side of the ball, Mike Nolan and crew added Oklahoma linebacker, DaShaun White. A former four-star recruit out of high school, White has all the measurables one could want in a linebacker. Standing at six-foot and 205 pounds, White has elite speed running a 4.58 forty-yard dash. A great second-level linebacker, White has phenomenal open-field tackling skills and excels in coverage.
With quick feet and fluid hips, he can easily lockdown tight ends and running backs. White also has a quick first step, allowing him to be used in the pass rush, getting around the edge. If he can work to overcome his stature to help shed blocks in the run game, he will easily be a day-1 rotational starter.
6. Levi Bell, DT, Texas State:
An All-Sun Belt second-team member and a PFF All-American third-team member, Levi Bell out of Texas State was drafted in the sixth round by the Michigan Panthers. Bell, a journeyman in college, was more than productive in his senior season. Breaking a school record for tackles for loss in a season with 13.5, Bell was a threat against the run. Also recording five sacks, Bell was second on the Bobcats in the category. With little limitation to his ability to produce, it begs the question of why he hasn’t received NFL attention. Frankly, his size is a big concern. Standing at only six-foot and 255-pounds, Bell must put on weight to see more field time for the Panthers.
7. Gunnar Oakes, TE, Eastern Michigan:
A player who I’ve covered live, Gunnar Oakes was a standout member of the Eastern Michigan Eagles this past season. A dominant blocking tight end who uses every bit of his six-foot-five frame to eat up linebackers in the run game. Additionally, Oakes can slip out during play-action passes, using his consistent hands to grab a few balls every now and then. A strong blocker with great usability, Nolan got himself a sleeper for the Michigan Panthers’ tight end room. Oakes has potential but will need to work on some more route versatility to be a consistent threat on the field, but this can be developed with proper coaching.
8. Andrew Farmer II, DE, Lane College:
One of the best edge rushers in HBCU football, Andrew Farmer II turned heads during his performance at the Hula Bowl. Ever since then, he has been swept underneath the rug, consumer by a lot of talented edge rushers coming out of college. Michigan Panthers fans should be happy about that though. The standout edge is on almost every top-ten small school players list and still isn’t talked about enough. His size and speed, combined with ferocious hands make him a threat to linemen everywhere. Somehow, he fell to the eighth round, but Panthers fans don’t need to complain about that.
9. Chim Okorafor, OL, Benedictine College:
Hailing from the NAIA, Okorafor is all potential. A massive player with insane strength, Okorafor adds solid depth to the Panthers’ blocking unit. Earning himself an honorable mention to the All-American NAIA team, Okorafor was a huge part of the Ravens front that only allowed 12 sacks in 13 games. Hopefully, Okorafor can continue to improve, tuning his game to his size this upcoming season.
10. Sidy Sow, OL, Eastern Michigan:
Another player I’ve had the opportunity to cover, Sidy Sow is a massive guard who can do everything. Quick enough to get to the second level, but with a strong enough base to set great interior protection, I consider Sow a steal in this draft. Never overextending in protection, Sow is able to burst off the line and keep threats in front of him extremely well. He will add great depth to this Michigan Panthers front, but don’t be surprised if he ends up starting in 2023.
For More Great Football Content
Follow us on Twitter at @GridironHeroics for more great content. We appreciate you taking time to read our articles. To interact more with our community and keep up to date on the latest in Football news, JOIN OUR FREE FACEBOOK GROUP by CLICKING HERE