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2023 NFL Draft Day 2: Panthers pick Mingo as WR, Johnson as OLB

A day after making the first pick of the year, Carolina adds more to the roster.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Day 1 of the 2023 NFL Draft came and went. The Carolina Panthers used the very first pick of the season to bring quarterback Bryce Young to the Queen City.

Now, it's time for the second and third rounds of the draft a day later.

The Panthers pounced again Friday with the 39th pick overall. This time, wide receiver Jonathan Mingo from Ole Miss was in their sights, and Carolina came calling for him.

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Born and raised in Mississippi, Mingo courted offers to play at Georgia and Auburn as well before deciding to stay in the Magnolia State. As a freshman ins 2019, he started all 12 of Ole mIss's games, finishing the season with 12 receptions for 172 yards and a touchdown. He caught 27 passes the next year for 379 yards.

While he missed seven games in his junior season, he still finished the year with 22 receptions for 346 yards and three touchdowns. In 2022, the Clarion-Ledger reported he set the school's record for most receiving yards in a game with 247.

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The Panthers originally had the 93rd pick of the draft, but ended up making a trade. In exchange for getting the 80th pick, Carolina gave the Pittsburgh Steelers the 93rd pick and 132nd pick overall.

Credit: AP
Oregon football player DJ Johnson (2) participates in a position drill at the school's NFL Pro Day, Tuesday, March 14, 2023, in Eugene, Ore. (AP Photo/Amanda Loman)

The trade ended up landing the Panthers a new outside linebacker: DJ Johnson from Oregon.

Johnson, originally from Sacramento, California, started his college career at Miami before transferring to Oregon. The NFL's official prospects profile on him said he made the move because of family members facing health issues.

At Miami, he made three tackles within eight games in 2017. He sat out most of 2018 due to the transfer, but with Oregon was able to play in the bowl game because he enrolled in January. He would play 13 games on defense in 2019, hitting in 14 tackles with five for loss with two sacks. He'd shift to being a tight end during the 2020 season, making 10 receptions that year. Three of those receptions ended up with scores, and he covered 113 yards in total in seven games with two starts.

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Oregon's coaches had him make another switch in 2021, this time as an OLB. He played in 11 games, starting three times, and getting 11 tackles in with two for loss with one sack. On the offense, he got a catch in for 11 yards.

Johnson would stay on defense in 2022, starting 10 of 11 games. He also earned All-Pac-12 Conference honors as the Ducks' leader with six sacks. He opted out of the team's bowl game this year to prepare for the draft.

Football runs in the family for DJ; his brother PJ Johnson was a seventh-round pick for the Detroit Lions in 2019 and was most recently on the practice squad for the Las Vegas Raiders. PJ Johnson was also signed with the Panthers on April 13, 2021, but was waived about a month later.

WCNC Charlotte will add new details to this article as the second and third rounds continue.

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