It's been a whirlwind three days but I closed out the Carolina Panthers' 2012 draft this afternoon in the NFP Mock Draft I've been speaking about. The mock is currently still going, and in the middle of the 5th round, but for all intents and purposes I'm out of picks and resting from here on out. That part is going to take some explaining. So, if you missed the first and second installments you can read them here, and over here respectively. Otherwise I now bring you to the conclusion of my mock draft odyssey.
I entered the day with a long wait. Having traded away my 4th round pick on day one I was stuck languishing as my BPA list was getting picked apart player by player throughout the forth round. At this point I'd pretty much singled out the 10-15 best GMs and watched them consistently make great picks. The list of 'steals' was quickly shrinking and around the 20th pick in the 4th round I decided to make my first trade of the day:
Panthers trade their 6th (170) and 7th (201) round pick, plus a 2013 6th round pick
Saints trade their 5th round pick (141)
My reasoning here was simple. At this juncture I feel we have enough 6th and 7th round guys populating the roster and waiting in the wings. Through trades I had already added several players, and quite frankly I saw the depth chart getting very crowded. So rather than add another two bodies I thought it would be more prudent to get a better caliber of player and try to find a potential upgrade. Ultimately this trade set up another one later in the day, and possibly the move I'm most proud of in the entire draft.
More after the jump
I had two BPA OL targets sitting in my sights around the mid-20's, Jeff Allen of Illinois and Tony Bergstrom of Utah- alas both were taken late in the 4th round. Thankfully though another target who was right around my BPA was there.
8(136) - Carolina (6-10) - Terrell Manning,OLB, NC State
I copped some flack yesterday for not selecting Lavonte David of Nebraska with one of my picks, and I cited my reasoning was that I felt he was a good player, but not right for our system as a starting OLB, and I still feel that way. However, I believe Manning (who is leaving school too early) could be every bit as talented as David with a year of seasoning and he has room to bulk up his 6'3" frame, just like Thomas Davis did.
Out of the gate he adds speed and ability to special teams, and can be a good safety net for Thomas Davis in case he can't recover.
At this point I has acquired the #141 pick and had about 45 minutes to prepare myself for what I was going to do. I liked Joe Looney, a strong guard out of Wake Forest who would have added another body to the OL, but following my mantra of adding higher level talent I decided to pursue a trade. All day Oakland had been looking to get more picks. Due to cap ramifications the GM was seeing the team getting cut in swaths to get under the cap, and without any real draft picks until the 4th round (1 and 2 going to Cincy, 3 going to Terelle Pyror and 5 going to New England) I thought I could make a deal.
The Raiders' GM wanted the 5th round pick I still had for a future 4th rounder, but I had other ideas. We barted for a little and then pulled the trigger.
Panthers trade their previously acquired 5th round pick (141), 2013 5th round pick, 2013 7th round pick and QB Jimmy Clausen
Raiders trade OT Joseph Barksdale
The plan to add depth to the OL went better than I could have ever imagined, and I think I landed a starting RT for my troubles. In terms of where I would rate Barksdale in this class I would have had him as a 2nd round pick, and much better as a prospect than Mitchell Schwartz who the Falcons took in the 2nd round. The irony is that the Raiders would have probably taken Atlanta's 3rd round pick for Barksdale...but I guess they never asked.
This is what Mocking The Draft said about him last year:
In the fight for the top offensive tackle in the 2011 NFL Draft, it is astonishing that Joseph Barksdale's name does not come up more often. Barksdale is a better athlete than he is given credit for at the left tackle position. In addition his technique is the best I have seen out of any tackle in this draft class. He gets terrific knee bend and keeps his pads low when blocking. Barskdale also has long arms and uses them to his advantage with ideal arm extension in his blocks. His ability to get to the next level, and be isolated one on one are both top notch. Joseph Barksdale has the size and strength of an ideal left tackle prospect.
I'm not sure I'm looking at him to play LT right now, but I definitely want to plug him in at RT immediately where his skill as a pass blocker can help keep Cam protected. While not as stout in the run game as Jeff Otah he's an infinitely better pass blocker which will pay dividends immediately.
Also, Jimmy Clausen was the kicker in this deal- and I was planning to cut him anyway. I'm perfectly happy to send Jimmy back to California where he can try to restart his career and maybe even get a shot at starting when Carson Palmer is done.
So... where does this all leave us?
After finishing a long three days of drafting James Hurney pours himself a glass of scotch and starts penciling in his projected 2012 depth chart based on the moves he made, and moves he plans to make. This is what he ended up with.
FB: Richie Brockel
WR: Steve Smith/ Brandon LaFell/ Armanti Edwards
LG: Travelle Wharton/ Mackenzy Bernardeau
C: Ryan Kalil
RG: Jeff Otah/ Geoff Schwartz
RT: Joseph Barksdale/ Byron Bell
OLB: Thomas Davis/ Jordan Senn/ Terrell Manning
SS: Charles Godfrey
FS: George Iloka
K: Olindo Mare
P: Jason Baker
LS: J.J. Jansen
KR: Kealoha Pilares
PR: Armanti Edwards
So Panthers fans... what do you think?