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Coples or Brockers... if Claiborne is gone.

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There has been some clamoring on CSR about the possibilities or significance of drafting a wide receiver in the first round of the NFL draft, or basically who we should select with the 9th overall pick. Depending on whose moch draft board you're looking at... prospects range from one end of the spectrum to the other. On CSR more of the same... from early draft predictions in DECEMBER... for Alshon Jeffrey or Vontaze Burfict to now David DeCastro, Janoris Jenkins, or Kendall Wright... Really. Not to say that these guys are not worthy of selection but with all of the posturing that the Panthers have done so far this off season, with notable improvements on special teams and depth built on the offensive line we can start to formulate a draft paradigm. So what am I saying? nothing because the team can and will draft who they like, but the way teams who select ahead of us attacked free agency and their garbling team needs are causing the stars align for me to make my bold first round draft prediction. Now it's a no brainer that the team will select Morris Claiborne or Matt Kalil if they are still on the board, but where do we go from there?
The Carolina Panthers have been busy preparing for the NFL Draft, already hosting at least three players for pre-draft visits. The Panthers have reportedly met with defensive tackle Michael Brockers and defensive ends Chandler Jones and Quinton Coples. Both Coples and Brockers are likely 1st rounder’s, who the Panthers may consider at No. 9. March 16, 2012 | Posted by Ryan McCrystal.
To select Janoris Jenkins or Dre Kirkpatrick with the 9th pick is a reach some say, but GOOD corners are a premium in this draft. So will Carolina pull the trigger on one...? I don't think so. Brandon Hogan has had over a year to return from his knee injury and played well in late games last season. We're looking at the same player in Jenkins but Hogan already knows the system and the play book. Dre KirkPatrick provides a little more size at the position but with R.J. Stanford signing his 1 year tender and a healthy Hogan I believe the cornerback position solid and moved to lower rounds of the Carolina Panthers draft board.

The Organization states that they want to select an impact player with that 9th selection which rules out offensive line prospects... with one exception listed above. Gross, Kalil, Hangartner, Bell, Otah, Ziemba, Williams, Browning, and signing the veteran Pollack I believe we're set at the position as well. So no David DeCastro or Riley Reiff with this pick. We are currently stacked in our backfield with Williams, Stewart, Goodson, and the recent addition of Tolbert. So sorry... no Trent Richardson.

So where will the IMPACT player come from? I love EVERYTHING Mark Barron brings to the field and I have a feeling that he will be a great one, but at top 10 selection is a reach for a safety as well. So let's recap quickly... QB, RB, OL, CB, and Safety are all out of the equation for the selection at #9, which Leaves WR, DL, & LB.

With the linebackers we have returning from injury and the ones we resigned I don't see Luke Kuechly being the selection either. Wide receiver is out also.. not that receiver would be bad, unfortunately at #9 there is only one to consider for that spot and that's Blackmon. We all know that the problem with that is he would fill the position that Legadu held last year... why not Lafell, because you just drafted Blackmon with your first overall pick and he would immediately be positioned across the field from Steve Smith. Also why fix it if it wasn't broken. Lafell played well in his spot last year and Cam knows where to find him and what he brings. Blackmon would get as many chances as Legadu did last year maybe even less because he don't know the system... so how much of an IMPACT would he be with the multiple sets we utilize on offense. No other receiver is worthy of that selection... even if Alshon Jeffrey times well at his proday

We drafted two defensive tackles last year and brought in a slew of retreads. No one likes to be wrong but you can't ignore the elephant in the room. To select one in the first round would mean we were wrong with our two selections last season, which I don't think Hurney is ready to admit, but there is one caveat (I'll explain later). Our pass rush last year improved from the previous year but not by a great deal, and outside of big money Charles Johnson and flashes of greatness from the Kraken there was little to aid the pass rush. Insert Quinton Coples...

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Adding couples would be a high risk, high reward player but is it really??? We know that he took it easy protecting himself from injury so that he can make millions... kind of don't blame him, but I can see the need for speculation. However at the Senior Bowl he dominated against good competition, many people even boasted that he was by far the best player on the field. In our system he won't have as much pressure on him because he wouldn't have to start; we have Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy for that. For a rookie knowing that you don't have the weight of the world on your shoulders helps you tremendously, basically go and execute when your spot in the rotation comes along, and the crazy part about that is... that's the worst case scenario. Best case is he comes in "Beast Mode" and takes the starting spot by force and pushes the Kraken back into the rotation. His measureables are amazing and reminiscent of should I say Julius Peppers. He's played DE, DT, and can drop in coverage like a linebacker.

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The only other player I can see us taking is Michael Brockers because if we can get his playing weight down to 290/ 300 which I believe is more comfortable for him, we could play him at defensive-end and at defensive tackle. This is truly a beast of a player 6'5/6'6 300+ pounds pounding on a team’s offensive line. He'll do well in the NFL over time but how long will it take him to "get it". Between Quinton Couple and Big Michael Brockers we could easily have our own version of Julius Peppers or Mario Williams.

I’ve just finished watching the Senior Bowl and wanted to quickly put a few thoughts on the blog. Firstly, the best player on the field today was Quinton Coples (DE, North Carolina) and it wasn’t even close. He was playing at a different level to anyone else, flashing superb range, athleticism, repertoire and extreme athleticism. His motor kept rolling throughout the game and he played like a top-five pick - he was virtually unblockable at times.

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