There’s less than 36 hours to go until the 2013 NFL Draft begins. This will be my final mock draft for the Panthers’ 2013 offseason.
With this mock, I’ll try to best predict what the Panthers will do on Draft night. So, these aren't necessarily the picks I would make if I was the Panthers GM – they’re just my best guesses at what I think they'll end up doing.
1.14: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
Dave Gettleman stated the need for touchdown scorers, and in the first round he gets one. DeAndre Hopkins was one of the deadliest red zone weapons in college football last season, as he had 18 touchdown catches. By now, I’m sure we’re all tired about the Hopkins talk. In a nutshell, he’s a smart receiver with good size, hands and route running ability. The Panthers have shown a lot of interest in him, as they worked him out, had him in for a visit in Charlotte and attended his Pro Day at Clemson. There’s also a good chance that Hopkins doesn't make it past the #16 overall pick, as the St. Louis Rams have also shown a lot interest in the talented wide receiver recently, so if the Panthers really want him, they’ll have to take him at #14.
2.12: Larry Warford, OG, Kentucky
The Panthers have a glaring need at right guard, and Warford is one of those ‘big hog mollies’ Gettleman craves. Although Warford is a bit slow and might have some issues with quicker interior defensive linemen, he is a talented road-grading right guard who should instantly improve the right side of the offensive line.
4.11: Bennie Logan, DT, LSU
Logan is an intriguing player with a lot of potential. He didn’t produce much at LSU, but his tape shows a promising young player with excellent versatility. There are a lot of different opinions on Logan's position in the NFL – I personally think that his best fit would be in a 4-3 defense as a nose tackle. At his current weight of 310 pounds, he’d have to bulk up a bit more, but an offseason in an NFL conditioning program should do the trick. I think Logan starts out playing behind Dwan Edwards early on, but as the season progresses and as he develops and gets bigger, I think he’ll eventually end up starting at nose tackle.
5.15: Zeke Motta, SS, Notre Dame
Motta is a talented safety, but due to the glut of talent at the position in this year’s class, he gets pushed back to the fifth round. I think Motta projects best as a strong safety in the NFL, even though he has experience at both safety positions. The Panthers plan at the safety position appears to be to move Charles Godfrey back to free safety, and draft a strong safety. Motta would be excellent competition for D.J Campbell at that strong safety spot. Even if Motta ends up losing the battle, he’s still an excellent depth player to have.
6.14: Chris Faulk, OT, LSU
This pick has ‘late round steal’ written all over it. Faulk was considered to be one of the best tackle prospects in the country prior to the 2012 season, but after suffering an ACL injury in September, his stock tumbled into the mid – late rounds. Due to his injury history, it’s a risky pick, but that’s what the late rounds are for – it's all or nothing. Once he gets healthy, Faulk could be excellent competition for Byron Bell at the right tackle spot. Faulk also played left tackle at LSU, so there’s a chance he could eventually flip over to the left side of the line in a few years.
So, in conclusion, the Panthers walk away with a talented wide receiver prospect, a road-grading right guard, a potential starter at nose tackle and two depth players at safety and offensive tackle.
What are your thoughts about this mock? Do you approve of these picks? I love hearing feedback, so feel free to comment away!
***One more note: I am now officially on Twitter! Feel free to follow me @CP_CSR.