This is going to sound mega pessimistic but I am tired of sitting back and constantly reading about everyone's infatuation with the DT position this year, i.e. first it was Brockers who's slowly dropping, and now Cox. And not just them; but there seems to be some kind of rumor going around that the Panthers absolutely have to draft a defensive tackle in the first round this year. Now before everybody starts jumping on me about, "Well the defensive line is weak" and "We need to plug those holes and stop the run"; just take a deep breath and relax. Now because no argument is a good argument without stats and facts, let me clear my throat.
The Panthers started the year with two rookie DT's playing what could be called one of the most fundamental and essential defensive positions since everyone knows it all starts in the trenches. They began the season by giving up 394 total yds. to the Cardinals, 419 yds. to the Packers, and 444 yds. to the Saints in week 5. To include giving up at least 100 yds. rushing in each of our first 6 games including 205 yds. by the always dangerous Matt Forte in week 4. We would go on to lose a bunch of key defensive players and endure a viscous beatdown by the Titans in week 10 only to give up 495 yds. to the Lions in week 11 including 140 yds. rushing to Kevin "Let me get off the couch and run all over the Panthers" Smith.
Now jump ahead to week 13, yes I know Tampa Bay is not a good team but we still managed to shut them down, holding them to 285 yds total offense and keeping them under 100 yds. rushing. Week 14 against the Falcons we gave up a lot through the air but held their rushing attack to under 100 yds. also. Week 16 against the Bucs we completely shut down their running game and got all sorts of pressure towards the end of the season. This tells me that they were finally starting to jive and add in the return of Ron Edwards and getting everybody back healthy with at least one year of experience, I honestly don't feel theres a need to use our first round pick on a DT. Matter of ffact I wouldn't use any of our picks on DTs this year. Don't get my wrong though, I would have been a huge fan of stealing Dontari Poe in the second round but he had to go have a huge combine that its now not gonna happen.
"So what do you suggest smart guy?", is what everyone's thinking now. Well let me introduce you to my dream draft scenario. And please take into account that I tried to make this as realistic as possible given the combine results and current player rankings. Also please let me know what you think at the end of the post.
Draft scenario #1 (More realistic):
1st round: CB Morris Claiborne (LSU) *Only if he's there* OR DE Melvin Ingram (South Carolina) *If Claiborne is gone*
2nd round: OLB Bruce Irvin (West Virginia) *If we get Claiborne in first round* OR CB Dre Kirkpatrick (Alabama) *Only if we get Inrgam in first round*
4th round: S George Iloka (Boise St.)
4th comp: WR Joe Adams (Arkansas)
5th round: QB Russell Wilson
6th round: RB Chris Rainey (Florida)
6th round: OT Mitchell Schwartz (California)
7th round: PT Drew Butler (Georgia)
Draft scenario #2 (Less realistic):
*Trade back scenario- CAR 1st (9th pick) for NYJ 1st (16th pick), 3rd (78th) and 2013 2nd and 3rd round picks*
1st round: OLB Courtney Upshaw (Alabama)
2nd round: CB Janoris Jenkins (North Alabama)
3rd round: RB LaMichael James (Oregon)
4th round: WR Brian Quick (App. St.)
5th round: S Brandon Taylor (LSU)
6th round: G Adam Gettis (Iowa)
6th comp: OT Nate Potter (Boise St.)
7th round: P Drew Butlet (Georgia)