If you missed the update yesterday, let me fill you in.
- The National Football Post is holding their twitter mock draft, and I am representing the Panthers.
- I pulled off two pretty crazy trades yesterday which netted us WR Alshon Jeffrey, CB Kyle Wilson (from the Jets) and picks for me to use today. If you want to read my thinking and logic you can find the first post here.
The day kicked off with me being in the driver's seat as the draft was suspended at 5PM yesterday with me on the clock. I listened to some trade offers for the first of my two second round picks, but ultimately nothing really tickled my fancy. Shortly after the draft began for the day I made my pick.
8(40) - Carolina (6-10) - Brandon Thompson, DT, Clemson
As it stands right now we will enter the 2012 season with Ron Edwards, Sione Fua, Frank Kearse, and Jason Shirley vying for time at the NT spot, and I'm okay giving those guys another year to see how they shake out. What I'm not okay with, however, is entering the season with Terrell McClain, Andre Neblett and Ron Fields as our under tackles.
Brandon Thompson immediately becomes the best DT the Panthers have and a player who will make those around him better. I'll speak more about him and my other picks...
After the jump
There was long time where Thompson was seen as the most talented DT in this draft class, however he lacks a signature move that will prevent him from becoming an elite pass rusher. That being said, he does a lot of things really well that are hard to teach. He's not so much a threat in himself, but rather he's gifted at moving the pile and shrinking the QB's pocket. Thompson wont always get a hand on the QB, but more often than not he makes that quarterback adjust to having his guard pushed back in his face.
Here's what mocking the draft said about him:
Thompson has the necessary size and bulk to play the defensive tackle position in the NFL. He combines that size with a good first step that allows him to explode into the offensive line. His ability to create a good initial jolt helps him get inside hand position and drive the offensive lineman into the backfield. Thompson does a great job of disrupting the offense by getting a great push off the line. He possesses a good motor which always makes him a threat to make a play.
It's that threat in the final sentence that makes all the difference in the world for Carolina. If Thompson gets to the NFL and requires a double team or at least being chipped by a second blocker then the Panthers will win on the pass rush. This will allow Charles Johnson to get open more often and before you know it we have a reliable pass rush.
Ultimately I was thrilled with his pick and Thompson really matched BPA with need where I took him.
I barely had time to catch my breath before it was my time to pick again; this time with the 2nd round pick I acquired from the Jets in yesterday's trade. While there were a lot of players I was watching, ultimately I decided to continue to bolster the much lacking Panthers' pass rush.
15(47) - Carolina from New York Jets (8-8) - Cam Johnson, DE, Virginia
We have Cam Newton... we have Charles Johnson... so what about Cam Johnson?
Name aside, Johnson is a fantastic pass rusher who out of the gate will start across from Big Money. I've been thinking today of who he reminds me of as a player, and the answer is Mike Rucker.
Like Rucker, Cam Johnson doesn't have that all world speed or athleticism people swoon over. However, he is an insanely smart football player who has a natural instinct for when to pick his time to rush the QB and when to stay back in run support. Sealing the edge is something Greg Hardy really struggled with against the run in 2011, and now he can take more of a specialist role where Sean McDermott can use him on obvious passing downs to throw off an offense and use his ability as a pass rusher to cause havoc.
I feel with Thompson and Johnson joining the defensive line the run game will be stopped...finally.
While I was waiting for my third round pick (also acquired in the trade yesterday) there were several times where I almost pulled the trigger and moved up for the player I wanted out of fear, especially when New Orleans took Harrison Smith at the top of the 3rd round. Nevertheless, I waited and got the player I was hoping for.
14(78) - Carolina from New York Jets (8-8) - George Iloka, S, Boise State
What happens when you take a 6'4", 222lb player who has a wealth of experience rushing the passer from the safety position and pair it with a player who has the ability to sub as a CB when needed? You get George Iloka.
Immediately he would come to Carolina and play his natural FS position and challenge Sherrod Martin for the starting spot. He's rangy, athletic and reliable, honestly I'm astonished he was still available, as was one GM in the draft who messaged me shortly following the pick informing me he'd been trying for an hour to move up and take him.
Here's what the NFP say on him:
Iloka is a tall kid with solid balance for his size and has some natural athleticism and pop. Has experience playing corner and being a physical press coverage man. However, he isn't a guy who can quickly re-direct and close on the football in the deep half. He needs to play with his hands on defenders, but is a more coordinated bigger safety than say Seahawks starter Kam Chancellor and he could start at the next level.
Keep in mind that Kam Chancellor finished this season with 97 tackles, 4 INT, 3 FF and a sack and you'll see why I love this pick so much.
Where do we stand?
Now I need to wait until the 5th round after losing my 4th in the trade with New York. I still have my 5th, 6th and 7th round pick and there's a player out there who I may trade up for purely because it's criminal he's still available. I'm still looking to add an MLB behind Jon Beason, and get a OLB to help bolster the units but I'm quite happy with what I've gotten so far. Here's a look as what is getting added to the Carolina Panthers:
- CB Kyle Wilson
- WR Alshon Jeffrey
- DT Brandon Thompson
- DE Cam Johnson
- FS George Iloka
As always I'd love to hear your opinion on who I should target next. You can see the full mock here.