Don't get me wrong, I love a mean-ass, dog-kicking maniac as much as the next guy, but Burfict looks like a boom-or-bust candidate to me, and so far I just don't like him on the outside. He scares the shit out of me, but will he scare NFL DCs or players?
I'm going to hope/pray that Beast can come back at 90 - 100% of what he was pre-injury. If not, then pony up the dough to re-sign Connor. The Panthers should fill the most glaring weaknesses, and that's WLB and OT. We don't know yet where we'll be picking, of course, but my first instinct is to try to get back into the the 3rd somehow, whether by trading back or trading up.
As you'll see, I'm "mocking" more of the approach I hope the Panthers take, rather than specific players.
We should draft a WLB that makes a ton of tackles, rushes the passer well, and can cover a back or TE man-to-man, but also has the instincts to play zone. Thomas Davis was that guy, but I have little hope he'll be back as an every down player next year. I'm not a UNC guy at all, but Zach Brown fits this profile. If you're not crazy about Brown in the first, there's another guy who has been mentioned exactly twice on CSR.
Lavonte David (Nebraska) isn't as fast as Brown and at this point projects in the mid-2nd. He is a tackling machine that can cover. Read about him here.
The need at OT is obvious; we can't trust Otah's health, and we need a future LT anyway. There are a couple of elite OTs that I would not pass on if we can get one -- Baby Bro' Kalil or Jonathan Martin.
Pick 1: Kalil, Martin, or trade back for OT Riley Reiff (Iowa) or Zach Brown
Pick 2: Depends on pick 1, but I'd be happy with Lavonte David if we don't pick Brown; If we do take Brown, then I like OLs Mike Adams (Ohio State) or Kelechi Osemele (Iowa State) in the 2nd.
Pick 3: I think the 3rd is where the value is for the deeper positions in the draft. However, if DTs Brandon Thompson (Clemson), Kawann Short (Purdue), Devon Still (Penn State), or Marcus Forston (The U) should happen to be on the board, I think the Panthers would jump on it. Otherwise, this is where we should start looking at CBs and WRs, or additional O-Line depth.
That's as far as I'm taking this, for now. There's time a'plenty to re-visit these picks and address later rounds when the season's over. Yet, there's one guy out there who's name keeps popping on my radar that I hope we get in the mid to late rounds. T.Y. "Goodbye" Hilton (WR, Florida Int'l) isn't a big WR by any stretch, but he doubles as a dynamic kick/punt return option. I'll leave it with that. Good Bye, now.