It's easy to offer a mock draft where everything falls into place. A few small leaps in logic are made, early-picking teams make a surprise selection, or two -- this results in the Carolina Panthers winding up with the ideal player for their scheme, and what they need moving forward. The true test, however, is the dumpster fire draft. One where all the target players are gone, leaving Carolina adrift, unsure of which direction to go. This is that draft.
Rather than give you the 14th pick, instead here are picks 1-13. Use the comment selection to argue, and debate who the Panthers should take.
2013 THIS IS WHY WE CAN'T HAVE NICE THINGS!!!! mock draft
1. Kansas City Chiefs: Luke Joeckel, OT -- Texas A&M
Yes, KC franchised Branden Albert yesterday, but I think it's premature to assume that precludes them from taking a left tackle in the draft. This buys the Chiefs a year, and Albert has told local media that he and Kansas City weren't close on a long-term deal.
2. Jacksonville Jaguars: Barkevious Mingo, OLB -- LSU
Needing pass rush in the worst possible way, the Jags elect to take the dynamic, and varied Mingo to become their new ace. Remember, they're becoming the Seattle Seahawks east -- and this is exactly who the 'hawks would take, if they were selecting this early.
3. Oakland Raiders: Sharrif Floyd, DT -- Florida
Depending on who you talk to, plenty of scouts believe Floyd will be the best-in-class at DT when the dust settles. While he's not as NFL ready as Star Lotulelei, he is able to play in a variety of schemes and fronts.
4. Philadelphia Eagles: Eric Fisher, OT -- Central Michigan
Protect the Foles... whatever you do, protect that gem of a quarterback Nick Foles.
5. Detroit Lions: Dee Milliner, CB -- Alabama
I refuse to move off this pick, because it feels like it makes too much sense. There are murmurs he could be in play in the top-three, which is a reach. At the 5th pick, well, he's still a reach -- but the upside is such that he could wind up being worth it.
6. Cleveland Browns: Cordarelle Patterson, WR -- Tennessee
Whoa there Chud, what's going on! The Browns have a deep threat in Josh Gordon, but they need another receiver -- and Chud is an offensive mad genius. The idea here will be that Patterson is his YAC threat, while Gordon is his deep guy. This is a move that looks to right a past wrong -- one that allowed the Atlanta Falcons to select Julio Jones, while the Browns are still looking for offensive weapons.
7. Arizona Cardinals: Lane Johnson, OT -- Okalhoma
Bruce Arians knows that whoever he has at QB is inconsequential if they're getting sack four times per game. Johnson is a calculated risk with a lot of upside, and they'll hope he can be their franchise LT to protect whomever winds up using their arm to throw a football with mediocre velocity.
8. Buffalo Bills: Geno Smith, QB -- West Virginia
I can't with good conscience have Geno fall out of the top-ten, even in a dumpster fire draft.
9. New York Jets: Ezekiel Ansah, DE -- BYU
Offense? We don't need no stinking offense! The Jets will love Ziggy's near-unmatched upside and potential.
10. Tennessee Titans: Star Lotulelei, DT -- Utah
The Titans would probably like Sharrif Floyd more, but the Raiders made a smart draft pick -- imagine that! If 'settling' for the best NT in the draft is their punishment, they could do a lot worse.
11. San Diego Chargers: Chance Warmack, OG -- Alabama
However they get it, the Chargers have to protect Philip Rivers. Unfortunately they missed out on the three top tackles, so they elect to take a stalwart right guard to solidify their line. This may be a touch too early, but the need is great.
12. Miami Dolphins: Keenan Allen, WR -- California
The second WR off the board lands in Miami to pair with Ryan Tannehill. I know that Allen is floundering around on most draft boards, but I feel it's a case of 'what have you done for me lately?' and he simply can't. Call it faith in his pro day, but I think this will all even itself out.
13. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Sheldon Richardson, DT -- Missouri
Playing spoiler once again, the Bucs take a Panthers' target one pick before they're on the board. In need of another defensive tackle, the Bucs will use their considerable free agency dollars to solidify the rest of their roster
14. Carolina Panthers: ?
Now it gets tricky. The top three DTs are off the board, as are the offensive tackles. Pair this with both wide receivers being gone, and it's essentially a nightmare scenario for the Panthers. There's talent available, and lots of possible upgrades -- but one wonders if anyone can have a major impact.