Defensive end Marquis Haynes was one of the best edge rushers in Ole Miss history, and he looks to continue that pressure at the next level for the Carolina Panthers, who selected him in the fourth round of the 2018 NFL Draft.
So far, the Panthers like what they see from their rookie defensive end.
“He’s just flat out speed off the edge,” general manager Marty Hurney said. “He can get to the quarterback.”
Carolina recently held its rookie mini-camp, and although Haynes was only able to participate for the first day of camp due to his return to Ole Miss to graduate last weekend, the 6-foot-2, 235-pounder impressed those watching.
“My attention was caught almost immediately by defensive end Marquis Haynes (pick No. 136),” writes Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer.
“The guy is a fastball. He already moves like a pro in drills. He only had one day of work (he walked in his commencement ceremony at Ole Miss on Saturday), but I am really looking forward to watching him work against more tenured players. I’m also excited to see how new defensive coordinator Eric Washington, a defensive end guru, uses him in his system. Every ace has a specialty pitch.”
Jourdan Rodrigue, Charlotte Observer
In his final season with the Rebels, Haynes tallied 45 tackles, with 11 tackles for loss for 72 yards, and recorded 7.5 sacks for a loss of 59 yards. Those statistics, along with his performance at the NFL Combine, were part of why the Panthers were high on Haynes, trading up to take him in this year’s draft.
Carolina head coach Ron Rivera is excited to have Haynes as part of his team.
“He looked really good yesterday, very pleased with what we got from him.“
Carolina head coach Ray Rivera on Haynes’ first day of rookie mini-camp
One of a handful of defensive ends with a real knack for getting to the quarterback, Haynes has the speed to be an elite edge rusher at the next level. He holds the Rebels’ sack record (32) that was once held by former Ole Miss Football player Greg Hardy (26.5). At Ole Miss’ Pro Day earlier this spring, Haynes ran a 4.58 40-yard dash, much quicker than the 4.68 he turned in at the NFL Combine.
Finding his place in the Panthers’ defense
In Carolina, Haynes will compete with 2017 third-round pick Daeshon Hall and Bryan Cox Jr. for playing time, as the Panthers look to use a four-man rotation at the edge rusher position.
Carolina lists Haynes’ childhood idol Julius Peppers, along with Mario Addison and Wes Horton, at the top of the depth chart, but the fourth spot will be there for the taking. Haynes will likely initially be used by the Panthers as a pass rush specialist, similar to what they did with Addison.
“His greatest asset as an athlete is his speed off the ball,” Coach Rivera said of Haynes.
“He’s got a great first step, he’s explosive, he gets off the ball very quickly. He’s got an array of pass rush moves we think we can exploit and we can move him around.”
Carolina head coach Ray Rivera on Marquis Haynes
Defensive coordinator Eric Washington: ‘We drafted a defensive end’
Carolina defensive coordinator Eric Washington, however, is quick to point out that he won’t pigeon-hole Haynes into the role of a specialized player who only sees the field on third and long.
“My approach with him is not going to be any different than if he were the prototypical sized guy. We didn’t draft a third-down pass rusher. We drafted a defensive end. Period.”
Defensive coordinator Eric Washington
Haynes, the Chucky Mullins Courage Award winner at Ole Miss, is known for his work ethic, determination and perseverance—and competing every day will be a given as he pursues his quest to become a full-time edge rusher for the Panthers.
In the meantime, Haynes is excited to learn from future Hall of Famer Peppers.
“I had comparisons and was told I was explosive like Julius Peppers,” Haynes said.
“He’s one of my idols. That’s amazing right there. I guess it was meant to be for me to be in Carolina.“