In my previous mock I selected WR Cordarelle Patterson. I have since been convinced that Patterson is very raw in his route running and might take a season or two to develop. I'm instead going to stick with a WR but instead select a guy who can make an immediate impact and give Cam Newton another weapon to choose from.
1st Round - WR Tavon Austin
He not only brings incredible speed but open field moves rarely seen. He's the kind of player that can make an immediate impact.
Austin may lack size but he makes up for it so may areas. I'm excited at the thought of seeing this guy return kicks and punts right out of the gate as the Panthers work him into the offense.
2nd Round - CB Jonathan Banks
Banks slides due to a poor 40 time at the combine but you can't simply ignore 16 career interceptions against mostly SEC competition. He has great size, plays aggressive and will be a good press corner to play the outside.
Previous pick: DT Kawann Short
4th - Round - DT Brandon Williams
I know many pundits have this guy rising up boards but I'm thinking the the depth at the position allows him to fall to the Panthers in the 4th round, right about where he is slated. At 6'1" 335 lbs Williams is just the space eater the Panthers need up front. Here's what Rob Rang has to say about Williams:
Strengths: Broad-shouldered and bulked up, especially in his upper body. Possesses the upper-body strength to shove opponents into the backfield and disrupt plays before they even have a chance to begin. Has enough short area quickness to slice through gaps. Possesses longer arms (32 3/4) than expected given his stout frame, which he uses well to keep offensive linemen off of him. Strong, heavy hands. Experienced playing on the nose, defensive tackle and out wide as a five-technique defensive end and has the length and awareness to be similarly versatile in the NFL. Good recognition of screens and draws. Surprisingly light feet and balance to move laterally through the trash and shows enough phone-booth quickness to close. Good strength and aggression for the pull-down tackle. Gets his hands up in passing lanes to provide quarterbacks with narrow lanes and has good hand-eye coordination and timing to tip passes. Enjoyed an impressive week of practice at the Senior Bowl.
Weaknesses: Possesses a disproportionately top-heavy build and a thinner than ideal lower body, which makes him less effective as a run-stuffing presence than he might appear "on the hoof." While active for his size, is not a quick-twitch athlete capable of providing a consistent pass rush in the NFL. Possesses only phone-booth quickness and lacks sustained speed, effort to travel far. Must do a better job of keeping his hands active, as he too often remains blocked when his initial bull rush or first step are handled. Missed the 2009 season due to injury. Compares To: Antonio Garay, NG, San Diego Chargers -- It was Garay's struggles with injuries that pushed him down draft boards rather than level of competition questions, but like the former Boston College standout, Williams' wide body and strength could make him a quality run-stuffer at the next level. --Rob Rang
We get another big fatty for the front line for a 4th round pick.
Previous pick: OT Chris Faulk
5th Round - OLB Jelani Jenkins
With the release of James Anderson the Panthers are suddenly a little thin at LB so they pick up a guy with upside but was held back by nagging injuries in 2012. They recently brought Jenkins in for a private workout so I'm thinking once he is there in the 5th the Panthers pull the trigger.
Previous pick: S Josh Evans
6th Round - FS Rontez Miles
I had previously mocked a kicker here and though I still think its a good idea I'm questioning whether the Panthers would spend one precious few picks on a kicker. There will be a couple strong legged kickers available as UDFAs.
Miles is a 6'0" FS that has decent speed who can make a play on the ball. He is a four starter with 5 INTs, 17 pass break ups and 23 tackles for loss, showing the kid can play the LOS as well.
So what do you think?