USA TODAY Sports
There's a new name for the Panthers at #14, and I bet you can't guess who it is.
Mock drafts have been fairly easy to predict thus far. Take the top ten picks, remove the elite talent, and Carolina take the leftovers at #14. Sometimes it's the third-best defensive tackle, or the second-best wide receiver, but in Russ Lande's latest mock draft for the National Football Post, he's going in a brand new direction.
In this scenario Star Lolulelei is still on the board, as is Cordarrelle Patterson. This must mean the decision is easy, right?
14. Carolina Panthers: Sylvester Williams, DT, North Carolina, Senior: The Panthers have a strong outside pass rush, but their interior defensive line has issues. Williams is a powerful defensive tackle whose initial quickness and competitiveness will make him an immediate impact player in the middle of the Panthers' defense.
Wow. Electing to pass on Lotulelei, Sheldon Richardson, and Jesse Williams -- the Panthers take the local defensive tackle who most have as a mid-second or early-third round pick.
Personally, I don't see it. If there was a huge early run on defensive tackles, and Carolina are desperate -- maybe. However, with two more talented nose tackles still on the board it's mystifying why the Panthers would take North Carolina's Williams over Alabama's, and especially over Star Lolulelei who manages to wind up in Pittsburgh.
As I do with every new name, I'll spend some more time looking at tape on Sylvester Williams, but based on the little I've seen it's hard to view him as a first round pick, let alone a top-15 selection.