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Carolina Panthers Mock Draft Version 3.0

 

Carolina Panthers Draft Prediction 3.0

Hey Panther fans, only a couple more days ‘till the draft!  This is my third and final Panthers mock draft, and I am trying to switch it up a bit and show a possible draft that is more ‘outside of the box.’

The pundits all basically say the same thing in mock drafts and are essentially followers.  Here’s how it goes: At one time, someone asserts that Ndamukong Suh will be the first player taken, and then everybody follows. à Then someone else will write that Sam Bradford, not Suh, will be the first taken, and then EVERYBODY follows suit.  These are the pundits that are saying that Carolina will pick a DT like Price first or a WR like Benn, and then everybody else follows with that. 

I don’t like following these pundits and others mock drafts because they can be bland, contain little actual analysis, and can simply be copycat mock drafts.  So don’t expect this mock draft to pick the most popular picks or players.  Also don’t expect this to fall in line with a prospect ranking chart, because many of these charts are largely inaccurate.  Furthermore, the Panthers are in many ways unpredictable, and in the past ‘experts have failed to come even close to what the Panthers pick.  Therefore, this draft is an attempt to think outside the box, and show readers a different, hopefully more realistic, possible approach that the Panthers might take towards the draft.

Round

Player

2 (Pick 48)

Eric Decker, WR, Minnesota

At 6-3 and 215, Decker is a tall and thick WR, and would be a perfect replacement for Muhsin Muhammad.  The Panthers pick him for this reason, because he has great size, runs good routes, has great body control, plays physically and would be a good blocker in the Panther offense.  Additionally, Decker is dominant against smaller corners and in double teams.  Can be a deep threat like Moose, and like Moose, he has great concentration to bring the ball down in tough situations and win jump balls.  Can line up in the slot or on the sideline and run every route on the tree.  Very productive in college, and was a multisport athlete playing baseball and almost went to the MLB.  Would be a great target opposite Steve Smith.  Is NFL ready and can step in immediately and contribute.  Must have glue on his hands because he has only dropped 3 (yes 3!) passes ever as a Golden Gopher.  Very possibly the best possession WR in the draft and vastly underrated by copycat scouts.  Downside with this guy is that he doesn’t have elite speed, although he does have nice acceleration into his routes and can create separation regardless.  Not having elite speed has not been a factor though because of his sheer physicality and route running.  Another downside is that he is coming off of a foot surgery, but this shouldn’t be much of an issue as his surgery was done by Panther team doctor, Dr. James Anderson, who gave the all clear for the Panthers to pick Jonathan Stewart.  So the injury shouldn’t be a big factor.  Also, Offensive Coordinator Jeff Davidson was at his pro-day, and must have been drooling at this guy’s potential in his power offense.  All in all, the Panthers are looking for the next Moose type receiver, and he fits the bill. Decker might not be around for the Panthers in round 3, so he is the first Panther chosen in the draft.

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via cdn.picapp.com

3 (Pick 78)

George Selvie, DE, USF

Okay, the Panthers have already chosen their greatest need-WR, and now they need to turn to their second greatest need-DE.  With Pro Bowl DE Peppers gone, there is a glaring hole at DE, and the Cats need at least some depth at DE, so they go with one here, and Selvie would be a great pick.  As everyone knows, Selvie burst onto the national spotlight in his sophomore year, racking up 59 tackles, 31.5 TFL, and 14.5 sacks! Since then, teams have gotten wise about him, and he has been largely double teamed the past two years, allowing JPP to shine.  Although the double teams have slowed his production, amazingly, he is still getting to the QB!  This is basically the role Peppers filled, so Selvie would fit well here, especially in a Meeks’ fast, Cover 2 D.  At 6’4" and 250, he is tall and lanky, and can add weight, which he’ll need to do in the pros to stay at DE.  Although only 250, he is relatively strong for his size.  Is extremely quick and has great feet quickness.  40 Time is somewhere between 4.7-4.9.  Good pass rusher and surprisingly efficient against the run and holding his assignment.  At this time, the most hyped and highest rated DE prospects are off the board- i.e. JPP, D Morgan, B Graham, Wootton, Dunlap, and Griffen.  Tweeners like Worilds, Sapp, and Hughes may also be gone by this time also, and Hardy isn’t worth picking because he is a china doll and injures easily.  So, Selvie is really the best of what’s left, and after him there’s really no quality DEs left.  Brian Baker was at USF’s pro day, and my guess was that he liked what he saw: a high-motor guy with a lot of potential.  The Panthers desperately need another DE, and Selvie would be a great fit.

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via a.espncdn.com

4 (Pick 112)

Rennie Curran, LB, UGA

The draft is deep in linebackers this year, and Curran could be a talent that falls a little bit later, and would fall to the Panthers advantage, or the Panthers might trade up to pick him. (The Panthers have made 11 draft day trades in the past 8 years, so don’t be surprised if they trade sometime this weekend)  Although Curran lacks height at 5’11", he makes up for it in speed and pure muscle!  Has a 4.56 40 time, and at 225 lbs, he busts out of his pads and looks like a shorter version of the hulk.  Ferocious and packs a hit like TNT.  Exceptionally good at finding the RB and bringing him down.  Also locks on to the ‘backs legs like a leech and won’t let go till he is down.   Is tremendous in covering TEs and RBs in coverage additionally.  Size and depth of LB in this draft make him slide down a couple rounds.  His size and ability probably line him up for a SLB position, but can play MLB if needed, and could even play WLB with his speed and cover abilities.  His versatility is another great feature about this guy, especially since the Panthers will have little depth at MLB (Beason) and SLB (Connor), which he could fill in for. (Since Anderson will probably back up Davis at WLB because he is really not a fit for SLB).  With the release of Na’il Diggs, the Panthers are now low on depth at linebacker, (especially at MLB and SLB) and Curran would be a fine backup, although he could even challenge Connor for SLB, and is going to be a great starter down the line.

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via cache.daylife.com

6 (Pick 175)

Taylor Price, WR, Ohio

Although the Panthers have chosen a WR already, they have little quality depth at the position, and as we know from history, the Panthers draft multiple players at a position of high need.  So going WR again isn’t delusional here.  Also the Panthers have a lot of interest in Taylor Price.  In fact, Marty Hurney spent more than an hour going over film with Price.  Many pundits predict that he is one of the top 10 WRs in the class and will go 2-3rd round, but they couldn’t be more wrong.  Price is a good player, but has been systematically overrated by copycats, which is why he falls.  However, at this point, he would be a superb value.  Price is a track star, and runs an extremely fast 40, somewhere between 4.3-4.40.  So he can separate vertically and be a deep threat.  Has had good, not great, production.  Also doesn’t run the best routes and not a sudden direction changing threat.  May not be able to beat press coverage, and not a great blocker.  Probably will play the slot position, or be relegated to be the 3rd, 4th or 5th WR.  Humble guy, great character, and the Panthers really like him.  Seeing as the Panthers don’t have a 5th rounder, if he falls to the 6th, they’d probably take him the first chance they got.

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via cdn.picapp.com

6 (Pick 202)

Darian Stewart, CB/S, South Carolina

If S Quinton Teal is gone, the Panthers will need depth at Cornerback and Safety.  Knowing that the Panthers value versatility, here they pick up Darian Stewart, who has played, and is capable of playing both CB and S.  Much like Chris Harris, Stewart’s a physical hitter and has good instincts.  He can run with receivers though and plays zone coverages well.  Although he is not a ballhawk, he has versatility to play both CB and S.  Also will be probably a good special teamer. 

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via media.thestate.com

6 (Pick 204)

Bill Stull, QB, Pitt

This draft is chock full of Spread QBs and ones that played at small schools and haven’t done well against better teams.  There are few pro-style QBs in the draft, and Bill Stull is one of them.  More so than Dan LeFevour and others, Stull seems more like a guy that fits the Panthers’ mold of a QB.  Stull played QB at Pitt, where they employed a more pro-style offense, taking snaps under center and dropping back to make passes similar to those in our offense.  Another underrated player whose production has been very good: in 2009 he had a 65.1 comp %, 2633 yds, 8.2 YPA, 150.61 QB rating, and a TD-to-INT ratio of 21 to 8!  Is 6-3, weighing 215.  Longest ball thrown was 79 yds, so he can throw the long ball.  Also played well consistently throughout the year and against a variety of teams.  The Panthers don’t take QBs early, so they take one late, and take one that fits their system, so Stull stays a Panther.

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via pittscript.files.wordpress.com

7 (Pick 223)

Brody Eldridge, TE, Oklahoma

Although the Panthers already have three tight ends, you may be thinking, why another?  Here’s why:  Eldridge is incredibly versatile and shores up multiple backup positions just by his addition.  Although he plays the TE position, Eldridge has starting experience playing fullback, tight end, center and even left guard!  Although he is not Jason Witten and isn’t going to be a threat in the passing game, he is an excellent driving blocker, and would fit nicely in the Panthers power run game.  The stat sheet has Eldridge playing at 6-5  and 260, but he is a beefcake and plays much nastier and more physical than that.  Eldridge should drop to the later rounds because of all the pass receiving TEs such as Pitta, Dickson, Hernandez, Quarless, Graham should go first.  Bottom line is that this guy is the ultimate utility guy for a physical power run gameàIf Fiammetta, Kalil, or even anyone on the line has an unfortunate incident, you could plug this guy in there, or you could simply utilize him for goal line situations and special teams.

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via cache2.asset-cache.net

7 (Pick 249)

Reggie Stephens, OG/C, Iowa State

The Panthers have a penchant for using late round picks on Offensive lineman, and have actually done well developing these late round picks into starters and quality backups.  With Keydrick Vincent gone, and assuming Mackenzy Bernadeau will be starting at guard, the Panthers do not have a backup center, and now have even less depth at guard.  Another underrated player: Reggie Stephens, from Iowa State who is a behemoth at 6’3" and 322.  Along with great size, Reggie is a tough and smothering interior lineman.  Perfect for the power running game.  Can play Center and Guard, giving depth to both positions.  Downside is that he is more slow-footed and isn’t very flexible, but absolutely smothers.  Is good line leader, and will happily be the QB of the offensive line.  Bottom line is the Panthers need O line depth and typically take one here, so they take a guy who fits their offense and is somewhat versatile.

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via farm3.static.flickr.com

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