INDIANAPOLIS, IN - FEBRUARY 28: Defensive back Dre Kirkpatrick of Alabama participates in a drill during the 2012 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 28, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
On Wednesday the University of Alabama held their pro day down in Tuscaloosa with several prospects the Panthers will be interested in.
First up is Dre Kirkpatrick- the highest rated prospects the Panthers could be looking at. According to Gil Brandt of NFL Network he had a fantastic pro day.
Kirkpatrick (6-1 3/4, 194) stood on everything from combine. He had a very, very, very good workout. He's already a first-round pick, I think what he did was make people realize that their evaluation was correct. I look at him as first half of the first round.
There have been a lot of reports that interest in Dre K was waning, with many mocks revising their projections to have him in the mid-late 20's. Concurrently, Mel Kiper has said Stephon Gilmore of South Carolina is his #2 CB in the draft, ahead of Kirkpatrick.
Unfortuntely there were two letdowns on Wednesday, and we'll look at those players after the jump.
The injury bug bit NT Josh Chapman, which meant we'll need to wait until the end of the month before he conducts a workout for scouts. A true NT he is a player who Carolina could be looking at in the second round. Perhaps more disappointing was the fact S Mark Barron was unable to participate in the pro day, still recovering from injury. Like Chapman he'll wait until the end of the month to have a workout. However, the flip-side to this is that the less Barron is able to show scouts the greater the chance he could slip to the Panthers' pick at #40.
Also unfortunate was the decision by Courtney Upshaw not to work out. He's a player who looks very good on tape, and whose game looks like it will translate well to the next level. It's a shame he and his agent decided to skip the pro day.
Dont'a Hightower, LB (6-2 1/8, 265) - Stood on his combine numbers, except he posted a 9-foot-9 broad jump. He also had a 4.68 short shuttle and a 7.55 cone drill. He worked really well. He's one of those guys who helped himself. I view him as a high second-round pick.
I think Hightower is immensely talented, and in the mid-second round he would be a steal. However, there's really not a need for a true ILB for Carolina with Jon Beason returning.
De'Quan Menzie, DB (5-10 3/4, 202) - He ran 4.62- and 4.61-second 40s. He had a 6.93 cone drill (very good), and he looked good in the workout. Menzie has very good ball skills. He's going to be a fourth- or fifth-round pick.
Menzie is a true corner with decent size, but I have real reservations about getting another developmental CB on the roster. I think Brandon Hogan fills that role well enough as it stands.
At the end of the day all the pro day ended up doing was creating yet more questions that it answered. There is an insane amount of mid-round talent in this class, even if the top of the draft is a little lacking. Any team who is able to move back in this draft to amass more picks will have been making a very smart move.