This is my first post on CSR, but I have been following for awhile and really enjoy the updates and community. I have been a PSL owner since the beginning and live in Charlotte. What I have to say next may shock you:
The Carolina Panthers should NOT take a DT with their first or second round draft picks.
But wait, almost everyone has the Panthers taking a DT in the first round, and if they pass on the first then they should definitely use their second round on one, right? Wrong. I think it would be a mistake to use those high picks on a DT. This draft is very deep at the DT position, and while ideally we would use a 3rd round pick on one, unless we acquire one via trade I think we should wait until the 4th round or later. Also, as many of you have noted, Gettleman has had success with non-first round and even UDFA DTs. Here is how I think the Panthers should draft with explanations:
1.14 Kenny Vacarro - S, Texas (unless Chance Warmack is still available)
After the debacle last year at safety, I think we should address this position early. The NFC South (and also the NFL as a whole) has become much more of a passing league. Watching us lose the first Falcons game this year almost solely because of Haruki Nakamura was painful. It was even more painful to watch us continue to get burned the rest of the year. Vacarro appears to be the consensus top safety in the draft with the size and skills to be a star. The only players I would consider taking over him are Chance Warmack or Star Lotulelei, but it is very doubtful that either will still be around at 14.
2.44 Best OL (unless either of the top 2 TEs are available)
With this pick, I think we should go with protection for Cam. I think we could go with either the best guard or tackle, but I think the better move is to get the best OT still on the board. This would allow us to move Byron Bell inside to guard, and clear some cap space by cutting Hangartner. It would also give us insurance in case of a Gross injury. The only pick I would make over an OL is either Ertz or Eifert (both 6'6" pass catching/blocking TEs). Running 2 TE sets are very effective with Cam, and I think with his tendency to make high throws would be a better pick than a WR.
4. Best DT/CB
Here is where you DT-wanters will get your pick. Yes, a big, run stuffing DT would help the Panthers. I think with the depth of this draft there will still be some serviceable options here at DT. If we are able to resign Dwan Edwards (who had 6 sacks if I remember correctly) and platoon with Neblett, I think we will be set at this position. This would help the Kraken and CJ continue with their pass-rushing excellence while helping our great LBs stop the run. Again, I'll give an alternate to this pick, and that is the best CB available. This pick might end up being a necessity if Gamble gets cut due to cap space, even though I think our corners performed pretty admirably at the end of the year and will continue to develop.
After that, you can pretty much cycle in my alternate postions that didn't get picked in the first 4 rounds. I would always caution against using a pick on a kicker, but if he's that good maybe use our last pick on him (and then still it's a maybe).
Anyways, let me know what you guys think.