• 79°

Ole Miss’ Marquis Haynes drafted by Carolina Panthers in fourth round

The Carolina Panthers hope Marquis Haynes can further bolster one of the NFL’s top rush defenses.

Ole Miss’ former pass-rush specialist was taken by the Panthers in the fourth round of the NFL Draft on Saturday. Haynes was the 36th pick of the round and the 136th overall player drafted.

Haynes was the second Ole Miss defensive lineman taken in the draft, joining second-round pick Breeland Speaks, though the 6-foot-3, 238-pounder projects as an outside linebacker in Carolina’s defense, which operates out of a 4-3 base but mixes in some 3-4 looks that could utilize a burst off the edge that made Haynes one of the SEC’s top pass rushers during his four years in Oxford.

He’ll join a defense that finished third in the NFL with 50 sacks last season.

“Is he a tweener? Is he a defensive end or an outside linebacker?” ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said. “But wherever you play him, he can get to the quarterback. That’s what he does.

“Marquis Haynes is a guy offensive line coaches have to account for.”

After choosing to return to Ole Miss for his senior season, Haynes ended his career as the Rebels’ modern-era leader (since 1983) in sacks (32) and tackles for loss (47.5). He led Ole Miss with 7.5 sacks last season on his way to second-team All-SEC honors and recorded at least seven each season, setting career-highs in sacks (10) and tackles for loss (16.5) as a sophomore in 2015.

Haynes ended his career with 172 tackles.

“A really productive player,” fellow ESPN analyst Todd McShay said. “If he puts it all together, matures and figures things out, he’s got a chance. He got the tools and the production.”