For what seems like months now, mock drafts have flooded every football blog and website on the internet. Everyone has a differing opinion on every single prospect, and everyone believes they are of course, correct. I've refrained from making an official mock draft, due to how often players rise and drop on draft boards. If I've learned one thing about the NFL draft, expect the unexpected. 95% of mock drafts will be going up in flames within minutes on Thursday night, so I offer my slightly against the norm mock draft, because once Commissioner Goodell puts the Indianapolis Colts on the clock, anything and everything will happen.
Round #1-9th overall pick: Michael Floyd, WR/Notre Dame
Michael Floyd has quickly risen up draft boards and some rumors have surfaced that he has even surpassed Justin Blackmon as the best WR in the draft. While the most obvious choice here would be defense, I cannot shake the feeling that Mr. Hurney is dying for a top tier talent at WR. The simple fact that we've dedicated so many visits to the position is also somewhat telling to me. Floyd is a big, fast guy that can go up really attack the football. He also showed a willingness to be a return man at Notre Dame, something the Panthers could also use. Lastly, when we pick I think Floyd will be the best player available, so Hurney kills two birds with one stone. He gets another high impact weapon for Cam, and takes the best prospect available. Floyd will be a smash hit in this offense.
Round #2-40th overall pick: Vinny Curry, DE/Marshall
Taking offense in the first round virtually guarantees taking defense almost the rest of the way, and Hurney starts by taking the best defensive lineman available. Curry is a relentless, high motor pass rusher coming off the edge, and had a very productive season at Marshall last year amassing 22 Tackles for loss, and 11 sacks. Plays the run game very well, and is good at chasing down ball carriers. Also having a knack for causing fumbles, he immediately competes and probably wins the defensive end spot opposite Charles Johnson.
Round #4-104th overall pick: Sean Spence, OLB/Miami
What he lacks in size (5'11"), Spence makes up for it with leadership and dedication, ten fold. A dedicated player in the film room, he has some of the best awareness and recognition of any linebacker in the draft. He doesn't bite on play action, and his read and react skills are off the charts. Also very stout against the run, has a great ability of slipping past blockers and takes good angles at the football. He reminds me very much of our own linebacker from the U, Jon Beason. So really, what's the catch? For one, as I already stated, his size. Another was his lackluster performance at the combine, only running a 4.71 forty yard dash. But I know what I've seen watching him on tape, he's smart, instinctive, a natural leader and projects as a Weakside Linebacker in the NFL. He would give us very good insurance for Thomas Davis, and eventually I see him becoming a top ten WLB in the NFL. Yes, I like him that much.
Round #5-143rd overall pick: DeQuan Menzie, CB/Alabama
Menzie has started twenty games the past two years for the best college team in the country. Menzie offers lots of versatility in the defensive backfield, lining up pretty much everywhere. He offers above average coverage skills but more importantly he's tough guy that is also an effective blitzer. I think he would fit perfectly into our group of cornerbacks, and a top five of Gamble/Hogan/Munnerlyn/Menzie/Butler offers a lot of different types of playing styles and versatility. With just a fifth round pick, the Panthers add an aggressive, coachable defensive back. Good pick.
Round #6-179th overall pick: DeAngelo Tyson, DT/Georgia
Tyson was a second team all SEC selection before the season, and matched that with pretty good production with 3.5 tackles for loss, and 11 quarterback pressures. Tyson also offers some versatility, as he played some 5-technique at Georgia. This would work out well for the Panthers, who want to incorporate quite a bit of 3-4 in their defense. He's pretty stout against the run, and offers a lot of toughness. What he lacks is explosiveness of the line of scrimmage, and is sometimes heavy footed. Thus, he doesn't offer hardly anything as a pass rusher, but that's okay for the Panthers. A big, tough, experienced run stopper in the sixth round is still a solid pick.
Round #6-207th overall pick: Drew Butler, P/Georgia
Since the Panthers have no punter on their roster, they obviously need to acquire one, and go ahead and spend a late round pick on local player Drew Butler. He won the Ray Guy award in 2009 (Nation's best punter) and was a finalist again in 2010. Butler can kick the hell out of the ball, with lots of hang time and an ability to accurately place the ball inside an opponents 10-12 yard line. The only negative I could find on Butler was that he struggles in inconsistent weather conditions (what kicker doesn't?). If the Panthers take him he will be an effective punter for a long time.
Round #7-216th overall pick: Josh Bush, FS/Wake Forest
Bush is a converted cornerback who was a three year starter at Wake Forest. He lacks size and was not very durable at Wake Forest. But Bush is also a speedy guy that also offers a lot of flexibility and the ability to cover lots of ground in the defensive backfield. Also has good ability to read the quarterbacks eyes and attack the football. Finished second in the ACC in interceptions last year. Bush offers a developmental player who could use a year or two in an NFL conditioning program, and would probably spend some time on the practice squad, but with a seventh round pick, the Panthers are willing to take him.
Well, there it is. Over a thousand words later and I'm finally finished. Let me know what you guys think, but please, constructive criticism only!