The first round of the NFL Draft ended last night, with the Carolina Panthers selecting Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei. Lotulelei falling to #14 was a dream come true for the Panthers. In fact, they loved Lotulelei so much that they were even willing to trade up to the #7 pick to get him. The Panthers ended up staying put at #14, and Star fell right into their laps.
By taking Lotulelei, the Panthers immediately fill one of their biggest holes on the roster at the defensive tackle position. After several years of starting journeymen veterans and underdeveloped rookies at the position, the Panthers now have their best defensive tackle since Kris Jenkins was traded in 2008. Lotulelei is a rare talent - although he is built like a nose tackle, he moves like an undertackle. Lotulelei has been compared to Baltimore Ravens Pro Bowl defensive tackle Haloti Ngata. Like Ngata, Lotulelei is a powerful and disruptive nose tackle with the versatility to play any position on the defensive line.
Despite adding Lotulelei to their roster, the Panthers still could use a lot of help, as they still have needs at several positions. On offense, there are still holes on the offensive line, specifically at the right guard spot. They could also look to add a playmaking wide receiver as well. On defense, the Panthers could benefit from a talent upgrade in the secondary – they might look at adding a safety or cornerback. Don’t rule out another defensive lineman either.
Here are five talented players who the Panthers could consider in the second round:
1. John Cyprien, SS, Florida International
Cyprien is the best strong safety in the NFL Draft. There’s a good chance that he’s gone by the time the Panthers pick at 44, but if he’s still on the board, it’s hard to argue that any other player would be better value at the position. Cyprien would be a huge upgrade in the secondary as he is a hard hitting safety with excellent range and instincts. If he ends up being the pick, the Panthers could have a completely transformed defense in 2013.
2. Keenan Allen, WR, California
There’s a very good chance that Allen could be the pick. The Panthers have spent a lot of time with Allen, and probably know him better than any other team in the NFL. Allen slid due to injury concerns and drug testing issues, but if the Panthers believe he’s clean and healthy, there’s a good chance Allen could be the pick at #44. Allen is a legitimate outside receiver who would instantly improve the offense.
3. Larry Warford, OG, Kentucky
Dave Gettleman values big men up front, and Warford is another one of those ‘big hog mollies’ the Panthers could take in the second round. He’s an instant starter at right guard on the Panthers offensive line.
4. Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech
If Allen is gone, there’s a chance that the Panthers could roll the dice on Quinton Patton, the talented small school receiver. Patton has all the tools to become a top possession receiver in the NFL.
5. Cornelius ‘Tank’ Carradine, DE, Florida State
Carradine is the best 4-3 defensive end in the entire Draft. However, he fell into the second round because he is still recovering from a torn ACL injury he suffered in November. Carradine wowed scouts at his workout recently, when he ran a 4.75-40. Carradine didn’t met with the Panthers, but neither did Xavier Rhodes, who the Panthers were strongly considering at 14. Dave Gettleman believes in the ‘best player available’ approach in the draft, so don’t be surprised if Carradine’s the pick at 44.
So, Panthers fans, who would you like to take in the second round? Who are your favorite prospects still on the board? Feel free to vote and discuss below!