2014 NFL mock draft: Carolina Panthers select wide receiver

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

The latest Mock Draft from SB Nation is out, and there's an exciting player pegged to wind up in Charlotte.

The Carolina Panthers need another wide receiver for Cam Newton. That fact has been true since he arrived in Charlotte, and while Brandon LaFell has flashes it's also clear that Steve Smith is aging.

Matthew Fairburn of SB Nation put out his latest Mock Draft, and picking at 27th the Panthers take a much-needed pass catcher.

27. Carolina Panthers: Jordan Matthews, Wide Receiver, Vanderbilt

Cam Newton has to be begging for a wide receiver at this point. Steve Smith is getting up there in age, and while he's still productive, the Panthers need to find someone to play opposite him. Jordan Matthews is a big, physical wideout with the speed to beat defenses deep. Newton would like this pick quite a bit. No more sad Cam.

How apropos that Fairburn picked the player our own Derek Leazer featured in his Tuesday spotlight. I think it's an absolutely sensational pick that gives Newton a mix of size and strength the position is starting to call for more and more in the NFL.

Instead of giving you a litany of reasons why Matthews will impress, I'd rather point to one factor that's often overlooked. Find a productive, multi-1,000 yard receiver at the college level who was elite without an established quarterback and I'll find you an NFL stud.

Initially this seems like an over-simplification, but Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald, A.J. Green and Julio Jones all fit this mold. Move slightly away from the top of the NFL elite and you find Alshon Jeffery, Keenan Allen and Demaryius Thomas -- all of whom have the same characteristic.

It doesn't mean that every productive receiver without a quarterback is NFL ready, but it's a nice indicator. A good quarterback makes a receiver look better, a great wide receiver can make his quarterback look better.

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