Regional leanings aside there is perhaps no pro-day that means more to the Carolina Panthers than South Carolina's, which will take place this Wednesday 3/28. There are concievably three prospects the Panthers could look at in the first two rounds with Melvin Ingram, Alshon Jeffrey and Stephon Gilmore all looking to impress scouts.
All three players will be looking to gain ground in their respective position. As it stands Ingram is trending to be the 2nd DE selected after Quinton Coples, Gilmore is pushing to be the third CB selected after Dre Kirkpatrick, and Alshon Jeffrey is looking to stop the bleeding as analysts are now projecting him as a mid-second round pick after a bevy of off-season rumors have plagued the WR.
After the jump we'll look at the three marquee players, and the chance they'll be taken by the Panthers as it stands now.
Melvin Ingram- OLB/DE (Top 15 pick)
Chance the Panthers will select him: 20%
Ingram has the greatest chance of winding up in the Panthers uniform come draft day because he fills a role the Panthers so desperately need- an every down pass rusher. While he is a hybrid 3-4 OLB/4-3 DE he shouldn't be mistaken with Eric Norwood because he's far better with a hand in the dirt than Norwood was, who preferred to stand up a lot of the time.
Ingram is a major talent, no doubt about it. When you consider the fact Ingram has mentioned the Panthers have met with him you can see there is some mutual interest. I'm still pegging this with a fairly low percentage because I get the sense the Panthers prefer Quinton Coples to Ingram right now, and if Coples is gone I think they'll be pushing to trade back. That being said, I'd be happy to see Melvin Ingram as a Panther come draft day.
Stephon Gilmore- CB (Late 1st/Early 2nd pick)
Chance the Panthers will select him: 5%
Thus far there have been no real signs the Panthers are interested in the top cornerbacks in the 2012 draft. Instead they have been meeting with mid-late round prospects and value players. I'm not sure what the long term plan at the position will be, but it doesn't seem like Ron Rivera's MO to invest a high pick in the secondary.
Gilmore is far from my favorite prospect. I think those who are putting him into the discussion with Janoris Jenkins are falling in love with measurables far too much. Personally, I don't think the two belong in the same conversation. There is a dearth of talent at the CB position in the NFL though, and that has led to players getting selected far earlier than they deserve to be.
Alshon Jeffrey- WR (Early-Mid 2nd round pick)
Chance the Panthers will select him: 10%
I think it's ludicrous Jeffrey has fallen to the 2nd round, but this will ultimately be someone's gain. I still think he's a tremendous receiver with a 'catch anything' ability that almost no other WR in this draft has. Ultimately though I need to pay attention to what the Panthers are giving us.
As it stands Carolina have met with a number of receivers, but Jeffrey wasn't on the list. It appears they are scouting players at the very top of the 1st round, and then looking at guys much further down the board. While I don't think this completely rules out Jeffrey it does seem they are valuing speed over size with the WRs they are scouting. I think there's a chance he's too good to pass up at #40, but I don't have a lot of confidence the Panthers would go that direction based on what we've seen so far.
What do you think Panthers fans? Are there any more Gamecocks you're looking forward to seeing on Wednesday? Anyone else who should be on the Carolina watch list?