A little information is a dangerous thing. So when Ron Rivera and Marty Hurney gave us the tidbit that they were looking to use the 9th overall pick on an 'impact player' it got the collective wheels turning among the fan base as we debated the term, read between the lines and flogged the horse to death. At this point I think it's safe to assume none of us really know the rubric the Panthers are using to define an 'impact player', but yesterday the National Football Post gave us an outline of who they think will be the players who can bring immediate dividends to the team who drafts them. Curiously there are several players the Panthers have either looked at, or are planning to.
LB-Luke Kuechly, Boston College: His top level instincts should serve him well as he transitions to the NFL. Kuechly is the kind of player who makes those around him better because of the way he approaches the game.
Kuechly jumped out because he's one of the prospects who will be available at #9 who the Panthers spent time bringing in for workouts and interviews- plus he's been at IMG which has ties to the scouting staff. Based on what the NFP are saying here the comparisons of Kuechly to Beason continue.
More after the jump
DT-Kendall Reyes, Connecticut: He has played both end and tackle, and probably will fit either a 3-4 (five technique) or 4-3 (under tackle). Reyes is known as a hard worker and a leader.
Among the pantheon of DTs we've looked at Reyes has really flown under the radar. Certainly a lock to be available in the 3rd round, he is a player who could very well be there when the Panthers pick in the 4th round. He has that schematic flexibility to move around. Basically he grades out as a poor man's Brandon Thompson- and in the 4th round that isn't a bad thing. At the worst he would add some much needed depth.
S-Mark Barron, Alabama: If he's healthy, he should make an impact quickly. Barron was able to be the defensive quarterback for the Crimson's Tide's complex defense, which bodes well for his future.
With the signing of Nakamura it seems like long odds he would be an early pick, but since Chris Harris was traded the Panthers have been sorely missing a cerebral QB for the secondary to work with Beason and organize the defense. I hope Charles Godfrey will fill that role, but on the surface he doesn't seem like the vocal field general Harris was.
DE-Shea McClellin, Boise State: His hustle and play making ability should help him overcome the transition to the next level. It also will help McClellin that he has lined up in multiple spots.
Again- versatility. If Ron Rivera and co. decide Greg Hardy will be their answer long term across from CJ they'll at least need to add a reliable player to step in where needed and sure up the run. Those who haven't watched the tape will immediately discount his 260 lb frame, but unlike other players that size McClellin was extremely stout against the run this year and used his long arms (32.75") to get a hand on players while engaged. Another 4th round guy he's one to keep an eye on.