I have long put in research into prospects each year. Watched the combine multiple times every year, just to look at players I didn't pay attention to the first time. I have never posted a mock draft online before. This will be my first of plenty to come before this year's draft.
1st round – Pick 9
Michael Brockers, DT LSU 6'5 322lbs
Brockers was not a stand out in college football. Before draft buzz you could probably mention his name and not many people would recognize who he is. Now the good news is the 8 teams in front of the Panthers do not really need or targeting a DT. Which has been the biggest need for the Panthers since the departure of Kris Jenkins. He could be a Kris Jenkins kind of guy. A big hole plugger with a couple sacks in a season. He is not a pass rushing DT, which is fine because the Panthers are dying for a run stopping DT and at 322 with a wingspan of 83 and 7/8. He can do just that. Also with that long wingspan he could become a factor in blocking kicks and swatting down passes.
2nd round – Pick 40
Trumaine Johnson, CB Montana 6'2 205lbs
Trumaine is a great tackling corner. He is good against the run and has a great press coverage ability. This kid will be under the radar because of his school. But what I really love about him is he is rare; big, strong and fast. I will take a prediction and say he will run about a 4.46 at the combine. At his size and speed he will create problems for opposing WRs. He could become a shutdown corner one day in the NFL. The reason he would be in the 2nd round is because he never really covered a NFL caliber WR in college on a game to game basis through his career. But he has a great understanding of the game, a good press corner, a great tackler and he is fast and has a great leaping ability with long arms.
4th round – pick 104
Keenan Robinson, OLB Texas 6'3 242lbs
Robinson has great speed which is good and bad. Sometimes Robinson seems to take plays off by just relying on his speed alone. But he is still a solid tackler and a good edge rusher. He is not one of the better linebackers who comes inside the line to make a play. He is a lot better coming off the edge of the tackles to make a play and has the speed to run ball handlers down from behind. He would be an outstanding addition to special teams because of his speed and solid tackling. He has probably above average instincts at linebacker. But if he continues to work hard and with leadership from Beason and Anderson. This kid could very well turn out to be a steal and with his speed he could possibly help with the Panthers inability to defend Tight Ends.
5th round – pick 137
Russell Wilson, QB Wisconsin 5'11 204lbs
Russell Wilson is a bit undersize but this kid can play. He will be a late round draft pick because he does not measure over 6 foot. Now let’s say if he was 6'2, Russell Wilson would probably be in the debate with RGIII and Luck as a top QB in this year’s draft. Unlike most QBs in the later rounds, Wilson possesses a great arm and outstanding accuracy for a scrambling QB at 5'11. His understanding of the game and ability to learn new playbooks is really rare, going from a more spread like system at NC State and not missing a beat by learning a new playbook which is a pro system over the summer at Wisconsin and not missing a beat. To make it even better had the best season of his career. He would be a great fit for the Panthers behind Cam and working with Shula. Both him and Cam can run, throw, and catch. So with him hard telling all kinds of crazy plays Chud could design with them both on the field in a wildcat formation.
6th round – pick 168
Adam Gettis, OG Iowa 6'2 293lbs
Gettis is a very undersized offensive lineman. But he is very quick and has A+ hand and footwork. He will probably drop way down because of his size. But he had a very good day at the combine and showed his great footwork and quickness so it may help some. Still I think he would be available in the 6th round and could be a nice addition to the Panthers line. I believe if he could put on at least 10 lbs this kid could be a steal for sure. Most lineman this later have bad habits of holding and bad footwork but he has the opposite of both. He is like Russel Wilson, if Gettis was a little bigger he would definitely go in the earlier rounds. To make it even better he was in a run heavy offense at Iowa but he was also a very good pass blocker, so he could still succeed in the NFL but putting on some extra weight couldn't hurt.
7th round – pick 198
Steve Johnson, OLB Kansas 6'0 237lbs
Steve Johnson probably won't be a starter ever in the NFL. Who knows maybe he could one day. But most likely the only playing time he will ever see is on special teams and that is most likely what the Panthers will be looking for in the 7th round. Now Steve Johnson lacks almost everything to be a linebacker at the next level. He is a horrible pass coverage guy. But he could be a good rushing 3-4 linebacker if was to make it as a starter somehow. He is strong and pretty fast probably about a 4.6 40 speed. This is pretty good for a linebacker, also good for getting down field and getting to the punt/kick returner. With his speed and strength, Johnson does possess a good understanding of how to get himself to the ball. So he could become a really good piece for the Panthers special team unit.
Now I just want to throw one guy out there who has been looked over by everyone because he is a small school with a weak conference but no doubt this guy will be good where ever he lands and I would not mind the Panthers taking him if Robinson or Wilson wasn't there at 4 or 5, if he was there.
Jordan White, WR Western Michigan 6'0 210lbs
Junior year: 94 receptions, 1378 yards, 10 TDs
Senior year: 140 receptions, 1911 yards, 17 TDs
What caught my eye other than his stats was that he is decent sized receiver and a kid that can just explode on the field.He has great hands and can’t create separation almost as good as the "elite" receivers in the draft like Blackmon. The only problem is he creates all his separation with his hips, don't get me wrong it is great that he can do this, but he need to learn to throw in head fakes and make his routes look the same at the start of the play or a veteran corner might sniff him out really quick. He could very well be the next Wes Welker caliber player; who can line up anywhere but most dangerous in the slot and have 80+ reception seasons.