I think you will agree this was a good choice but it's one I don't hold a lot of hope of actually happening:
Pick: Star Lotulelei DT, Utah
Analysis: Last year at the combine Oklahoma DE Frank Alexander dropped out due to a supposed heart condition detected during his physical. That ended up being a false positive test result yet Alexander still slide to the 4th round of the draft where the Panthers traded a 2013 3rd round pick for him. That move has worked out for the Panthers so far. Though Star is in a different scenario I think he will still be cleared to play but like Alexander he will still slide on draft as he did in this mock. Even with OT Lane Johnson still on the board the Panthers will pounce and plug him right into their line-up where he will help free up Luke Kuechly to make plays. Run defense problem solved! ~ Jaxon
I would be ecstatic if that actually happened as I'm banking his heart condition will not affect his play. What I actually like better about the way this one fell out leading up to #14 is that LT Lane Johnson is still on the board. In this scenario the Panthers, rather than use the pick or select Johnson themselves, will trade up to grab the LT. Here's why I thinks it's possible.
The Saints, who pick at #15, decided to let LT Jermon Bushrod test free agency which means they think they can find better for the money Bushrod is looking for. Plus I bet he gets a better deal elsewhere. A rookie with huge upside would be just the thing the Saints would need to justify letting Bushrod walk. Simply denying the Saints a good LT might be the final straw to cement a trade back to someone like the Rams who are right behind the Saints at #16. The Bengals at #21 is an option as team needing a OT.
My comments on the thirteen picks leading up to our pick:
- The first two picks (Joeckel, Mingo) go just as I think they will
- I think the Raiders will instead take Lotulelei at #3 instead of Floyd
- Dion Jordan to the Eagles @ #4 to play OLB in their new 3-4 makes sense
- The Lions certainly need a LT though I still think they want a pass rusher instead
- At #6 it's hard to imagine the Browns need a CB but Milliner probably is BPA there
- If the Raiders pass and no one trades up then I can certainly see the Cardinals taking Smith at #7
- At #8 this is the first one that is a head-scratcher. The Bills seem to need a pass rusher or LB like Jarvis Jones, not a raw WR like Patterson.
- Werner seems more suitable as a 4-3 DE then a 3-4 DE or even OLB so I'm not sure about this one either. It seems Jones would be welcome in NY too.
- Warmack to the Titans seems to make sense though I still think its high for an OG overall.
- The most questionable pick so far has to be this one with the Chargers taking OG Johnathan Cooper when OT Lane Johnson is still on the board. Maybe Johnson is over-rated? It's possible.
- This Dolphins pick at #12 did surprise me but it makes sense. They certainly need a TE and this guy is supposedly really good. A WC offense needs an athletic, 3 down TE so in that regard this makes sense. Again though, considering they are letting Jake Long walk I'm surprised Lane Johnson was not the pick. Am i missing something on Johnson?
- The Bucs don't appear to need another DE but Ansah just might be too much BPA value to pass up. I bet the Panthers would have a hard time passing on Ansah as well.