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Michigan Panthers See Several 2023 Draftees Earn NFL Opportunities

The 2023 NFL Draft is complete and as expected several USFL draftees have either been drafted, signed or invited to NFL team’s Rookie Mini Camp. The Panthers who like all USFL teams were allowed to draft the rights of 10 players who all were eligible by the NFL to be Drafted in 2023. So far Santrell Latham the team’s 3rd round pick is the only draftee to join the Panthers.

Round 1 Pick 1 Jarrett Horst Offensive Tackle Michigan State

Horst went undrafted in the 2023 NFL Draft, after being selected #1 in the USFL Draft out of Michigan State. Horst will be joining the Miami Dolphins as an Undrafted Free Agent for the time being.

Round 2 Pick 8 Tanner Morgan Quarterback Minnesota

Morgan like Horst went undrafted in the 2023 NFL Draft. The former Minnesota Quarterback will be joining the Pittsburgh Steelers whose Quarterback room currently has two signal callers going into 2023 training camp.

Round 3 Pick 16 Santrell Latham Linebacker Southern Miss

Latham was the first Panthers draftee to join the USFL. Latham was signed by Michigan on April 12th and has been on the inactive roster since joining the team.

Round 4 Pick 24 DJ Scaife Jr. Offensive Lineman University of Miami

Scaife like Horst and Morgan had went undrafted after being selected in the 4th round of the 2023 USFL draft. Scaife on April 29th was signed by the Miami Dolphins as a UDFA, keeping the former Hurricane in Miami.

Round 5 Pick 32 Dashaun White Linebacker Oklahoma

White did not get drafted, nor did he sign with an NFL team as an UDFA, however received several invites to NFL Rookie Mini Camp. After originally opting to join the Giants, White has instead decided to try out with the Eagles and then the Buffalo Bills in the next several days.

Round 6 Pick 40 Levi Bell Defensive Lineman Texas State

After attending three different schools (College of Idaho, Tyler JC, and LA Tech) before finishing at Texas State, Bell had his pick of NFL teams when given the opportunity to become a UDFA. Bell ended up signing with the Balitmore Ravens after being taken in the 6th round by the Michigan Panthers. Per his agency, Bell could be splitting time between Defensive Line and Fullback.

Round 7 Pick 48 Gunnar Oakes Tight End Eastern Michigan

Many thought Oakes would be in the conversation to be a late draft pick however, after seven rounds Oakes’ name wasn’t mentioned. The versatile Tight End has so far not been signed as a UDFA however is being brought in by the Falcons for their Rookie Mini Camp.

Round 8 Pick 56 Andrew Farmer II Defensive End Lane College

Farmer was the lone HBCU player taken by the Panthers after winning SIAC player of the year in 2022. Farmer would go undrafted in the 2023 NFL draft and then sign with the LA Chargers as a UDFA.

Round 9 Pick 64 Chim Okorafor Offensive Line Benedictine College

An NAIA alum, Chim Okorafor will taking his All-American pedigree to a tryout with the Philadelphia Eagles during their Rookie Mini-Camp.

Round 10 Pick 72 Sidy Sow Offensive Line Eastern Michigan

It’s an extremely common characteristic for the Panthers to continue to sign/draft players with Michigan pedigrees. Sow was no exception, becoming the only Panther draftee to be selected in the NFL during the draft. Sow was selected by the New England Patriots with the 117th overall pick in the 4th round.

While it may be a long shot for any of these players, to earn a USFL opportunity in 2023, it’s extremely possible many of these players join the Panthers in 2024. Regardless, with the nine remaining players all earning an NFL opportunity, the selection of these players speaks volumes to the work Mike Nolan and Steve Kazor have done to evaluate and procure high level talent for the Michigan Panthers.

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Pat Rifino is a former Security Contractor turned writer. He began his writing career talking about geo-politics, and the defense industry. Now Pat writes about alt-league football, while hanging out with his dogs in his off time.

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