CSR Roundtable: Carolina Panthers NFL Draft Day 1 Predictions

Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

The experts at Cat Scratch Reader debate their predictions for the Panthers on the first day of the 2013 NFL Draft.

Had your fill of the Panthers Draft coverage? We sure haven't. The writers at Cat Scratch Reader answer four pressing questions about the Panthers and share their predictions for Day 1 of the NFL Draft.


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1) Who do you think is a potential sleeper pick for the Panthers at 14?

BW Smith, Editor: Ezekiel Ansah. He hasn't gotten a lot of attention from Carolina, but we know how much GM Dave Gettleman loves pass rushers, and the upside is tremendous.

Evan Leekley, Editor: Jarvis Jones--if things go to $#!& grabbing arguably the best pass rusher in the draft might make some sense.

James Dator, Manager: Dee Milliner. He hasn't visited the Panthers, but if he slides out of the top-ten it would be hard to pass on him.

Jaxon, Manager: Tyler Eifert...he's not on our radar but would be another tool for Cam in the red zone and would be a long term solution at TE.

PantherEdgar, Author: Xavier Rhodes. More I hear, read, and watch, the more I like. Predict he becomes next great corner.

Ivan459, Moderator: D.J. Fluker. The guy is rising up draft boards. The Panthers could really use some OL help, and based upon the way the drat is shaping up, this guy could be the only elite OT left on the board. He hasn't been mentioned much, but he is definitley a sleeper for 14.

CanadianPanther, Editor: Sharrif Floyd - there's talk about him potentially falling out of the top 10, back into the teens, where he was actually projected to go in February.

Rick Bates, Editor: I'm going with Tyler Eifert as well (not stealing from you Jaxon, I actually had this in my "mock by points" picks. Having Olsen and Eifert would be cause match-up problems for everyone, including the newly retooled Bucs secondary.

Brian Beversluis, Author: Kenny Vaccaro. He could answer our safety problem right away, and start day one.

Crawford Rundlett, Author: My sleeper would be Sylvester Williams. Sports Science aside, Williams has a fantastic first step; perhaps the best in this draft. He has the size and ability to fit in at NT or UT.

Connor Harrison, Author: Xavier Rhodes. Starting to rise in boards, and has some serious potential.

Derek Leazer, Author: "Tank" Carradine.


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2) Which player, if selected by the Panthers at 14, would disappoint you the most?

Smith: Tavon Austin. He doesn't fit the offense as well as some of the other WR's in the draft, so if the Panthers are going to target WR's they should consider ones who fit the scheme.

Leekley: D.J. Fluker. As much as the Panthers pass the ball now I'm not sure he's a great fit. He'd be as much a liability in pass pro as what we have now.

Dator: D.J. Fluker. They spent a 2nd round pick on a guard last year, and I think Fluker ultimately projects to right guard.

Jaxon: Sheldon Richardson...though he's projected by many to be picked by us he just doesn't seem to fit our scheme and his attitude is a red flag.

PantherEdgar: D.J. Fluker. He would be a reach, as there would be some good OL prospects still available in Round 2, like Terron Armstead, Larry Warford, and Kyle Long. If he ends being guard, why not draft Chance Warmack or Jonathan Cooper?

Ivan459: Anyone else except D.J. Fluker. If I don't hear the words "with the 14th overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Carolina Panthers select, D.J. Fluker, OT, Alabama" I'm going to flip shit. The guy is an all-pro, and we would be making a big mistake not getting him! He is a steal at 14!

CanadianPanther: Cordarrelle Patterson would be a huge disappointment. He's just not ready to contribute as a wide receiver. He's got the highest chance of busting in the NFL.

Bates: D.J. Fluker... I don't get the energy this has derived from an alleged golf course conversation. Second nominee would be Ansah, because it could mean the Kraken leaves us.

Beversluis: D.J. Fluker. I'm not saying he's a bad player but I think 14 for a guy who would be most suited as a guard is way too high.

Rundlett: I would say Sheldon Richardson. He's not a pro-ready UT, and is not what the Panthers are looking for at defensive tackle, in my opinion. He can be a good player if put in the correct situation, but I don't think Carolina is that situation.

Harrison: Sheldon Richardson...Not believing this hype...did great in college, but that's a whole new level (ask Jimmy Clausen). Reminds me a bit of Poe who was selected by Eagles last year...haven't heard his name since draft. Just IMO not buying all this hype. Would much rather pickup an average DT in FA than spend a first rounder on him.

Leazer: D.J. Fluker.


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3) Which player, if selected by the Panthers at 14, would excite you the most?

Smith: Star Lotulelei. We need a DT, and he's the best one on the board IMO. If he fell to #14 I might break out the happy dance (assuming the Panthers scooped him up, of course).

Leekley: Star Lotulelei. This would elevate our pass rush so much--freeing up our DEs to concentrate on rushing the passer.

Dator: Tavon Austin. It would excite and scare me the same way Cam Newton did in 2011. Potential to fail is big, but the offense could be downright frightening if they can use him.

Jaxon: Ezekiel Ansah...if he should slip to us he is the most explosive pass rusher we have seen in this draft.

PantherEdgar: Tavon Austin. If you're a fan of football, how could you not be excited to have Austin on your team? Just electric. Analysts I respect such as Greg Cosell of NFL Films and Josh Norris of Rotoworld love him. Sure, he doesn't fit Panthers current scheme, but make scheme fit him! Imagine the possibilities! What if they trotted out in formation with Cam, DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, and Austin in a pistol backfield with Smitty and Olsen... How would you defend it? Love to see it happen.

Ivan459: D.J. Fluker. I mean, come on. What excites more than seeing a big ole OT plowing the way for RB's and holding up DE's for the QB. Nobody, and I mean NOBODY is better at that than DJ Fluker. I bet he could even play TE for a bit! There is our #2 TE problem solved. All thanks to D.J. Fluker!

CanadianPanther: Sharrif Floyd. He fits this team really, really well. He's got the potential to be an elite penetrating defensive tackle in a year or two. I think his upside is through the roof.

Bates: Lane Johnson ... could we get so lucky?

Beversluis: Star Lotulelei. Pretty sure-fire way of making our front seven the best in the NFC South by FAR.

Rundlett: Straying from the Lotulelei/Floyd bloc, I'll go with Barkevious Mingo. Mingo would provide great depth as a pass rusher, and would add a new wrinkle to Carolina's Defense. If developed properly, I think he has the ability to become an all pro player.

Harrison: Tavon Austin... Just imagine him in an offense with Cam, Double Trouble, Tolbert, Smitty, Lafell, Olsen and newly aquired Hixon/Ginn Jr. Endless possibilities.

Leazer: DeAndre Hopkins.


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4) Okay, if you had to bet, who do you predict the Panthers will draft at 14?

Smith: If I had to lay money down on it, I'd bet that the Panthers will select Keenan Allen at #14 overall. (For those who don't like Allen, you should be relieved because I'm never right about these things.)

Leekley: Chance Warmack. Guards usually start to slide a little--even guards as highly touted as Warmack. This works in our favor this year.

Dator: DeAndre Hopkins. Unless Sharrif Floyd or Lane Johnson fall, I think they take the most NFL ready and sure-thing at WR in this class.

Jaxon: Shariff Floyd...I think his sudden shot up the draft boards in Feb was overblown and he will be there at 14 for us.

PantherEdgar: One of the top 3 DT's, and if I had to guess, Sheldon Richardson. Hate to be the guy that predicts the most popularly mocked to Panthers, but can't help but think Panthers will go safe. I know they've worked out so many WR's, but value would be in 2nd, not first.

Ivan459: Is this really a question? D.J. FLUKER. I know this because some guy at Wendy's said he worked as Dave Gettleman's assistant sometime somewhere. I mean, YOU CAN'T ARGUE WITH THAT EVIDENCE.

CanadianPanther: I'm split between DeAndre Hopkins and Keenan Allen, but I'll go with Hopkins. He's got all the tools to become a top receiver in the NFL.

Bates: I think Hopkins will be the pick. Allen's knee and injury history just worry me. Austin and Patterson are too raw. The value at DT looks better to me in the 2nd or even 3rd, if we can get a 3rd.

Beversluis: Keenan Allen. We've worked with him for awhile. This reminds me of the Cam Newton pick. No team in the NFL knows Keenan Allen as well as the Panthers. If they haven't found a reason to dislike him, this is one of the safest picks. The knee is an issue but he's got some time to work that out.

I know, TRADE DOWN WE NEEDZ PIKZ. But seriously, if the Panthers did move down somehow, I think that screams Keenan Allen due to the question of his knee and he would still be there. But Deandre Hopkins could also very easily be the guy as well.

Rundlett: I have a feeling that Sharrif Floyd will fall to Carolina at #14. If he's on the board, he's probably the BPA; Floyd would fit in well with Carolina's multiple front defense, and could very well be the longterm answer at UT.

Harrison: Kenny Vaccaro... I'm going to assume the Jets will take Austin right before us, and that excitement will be gone, however the best Safety (IMO) in the draft will fall to us. Shame for Mitchell and Campbell, because this guy will take starting job once he arrives. Can anyone remember the last good safety to come out of Texas? Goes by the name Earl Thomas...#1 Defense...yeah...Anyways, would be happy with this pick.

Leazer: DeAndre Hopkins.

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