NX's First NFL Mock Draft

Everyone’s doing a mock draft these days -- and for me, this is a pretty interesting exercise, since I’ve never really done one of these before. If nothing else, it gives me some perspective for potential directions the Carolina Panthers could be looking at.

Before we begin, I’m operating under the assumption that we have no trades -- sadly, I don’t see us being able to trade back, and at our position, I don’t think anyone’s going to trade up unless a miracle happens. So, who was I crazy enough to pick? We’ll see, after the jump...
9. Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State

I’m assuming here that Quinton Coples is still on the board, but I’m passing on him -- I’m not convinced that his motor will be any better in the NFL than it was at UNC, and the last thing we need is a DE who disappears when the going gets tough. There are options -- DeCastro, Kuechly and Melvin Ingram -- but in the end, Fletcher Cox wins out. Very disruptive on the line as a defensive tackle -- and better, Cox can line up anywhere on the defensive line and still contribute. That sort of versatility is very appealing to me, and I have the feeling Cox could very well be a day-one starter.

40. Vinny Curry, DE, Marshall

Keeping defense here, some drafts have Vinny Curry going in the late first to late second -- let’s take the happy medium, where he falls to us. The only way I stop to reconsider this is if Alshon Jeffery is still on the board, and I think he might actually be gone by the time it comes to our selection, given his pro day performance. Curry’s got the versatility of playing defensive end, as well as OLB in 3-4 looks, which can prove very handy for Rivera’s and McDermott’s planned defensive scheme.

104. Brandon Mosley, OT, Auburn

Can you say, Otah insurance? Certainly, we need a little more depth here, just in case -- the last thing the Panthers need is Byron Bell at right tackle again, and being forced to keep a TE in to help with blocking, which deprives Cam of a potential weapon. Mosley was quite serviceable at Auburn at right tackle, and if there’s anything the right side of the Panthers offensive line needs, it’s stability. One might consider, if Mosley can start, moving Otah to right guard if he’s still on the active roster.

143. Danny Trevathan, OLB, Kentucky

Much like Mosley is Otah insurance, Danny Trevathan is Thomas Davis insurance. Even if Bruce Irvin is there, I still take Trevathan -- I already have Vinny Curry, and Irvin was not very good at defensive end. If Trevathan is off the board by this point, then I look more closely at taking Terrell Manning, another OLB out of NC State.

180. Danny Coale, WR, Virginia Tech

It never hurts to keep a little youth in the wide receiver corps. At this point, many of the more well-known names are gone. Coale did a good job considering he didn’t have a big-name quarterback at the helm at Virginia Tech. I suspect, however, he may wind up on the practice squad when all is said and done, kept in reserve in case the WR corps become depleted.

207. Drew Butler, P, Georgia

If Bryan Anger somehow miraculously falls to the bottom of the sixth round, that’s the only way I justify not taking Drew Butler -- and since rumor has it that Anger won’t make it out of the fifth, this is where BPA and need meet. Butler has a good leg, and with Jason Baker gone, he’ll be pretty much a shoo-in for the 53-man roster come the start of the 2012 NFL season.

216. Paris Cotton, RB, Central Michigan

What? We have D-Will, J-Stew, Goodson-as-trade-bait, and Tolbert -- what am I doing picking yet another running back in the seventh round? Well, Ron Rivera said he was looking for a running back who could emulate Darren Sproles -- Cotton could very well fit that mold. While only a fraction over 5’6”, Cotton is surprisingly quick and elusive, and knows how to turn on the jets when he’s got the open field ahead of him, and from what game tape I’ve been able to see, he has pretty good hands for receiving as well.

So, Panthers fans, what do you think? Hopefully this is at least somewhat better than the travesty that Walt put up for us, which PanthersRoar reported on earlier today -- especially since it’s my first attempt at playing GM.

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