Panther Paw Prints: Post NFL Draft 2013 Edition

Let's see how some of the obscure pundits are grading the Panthers draft class.

Starting with one that seems to barely scratch the surface:

Picking apart this year’s NFL Draft | The Salt Lake Tribune

Carolina Panthers • B+ Getting Star Lotulelei at 14 was a steal, plain and simple. After that, there were some curious choices, like adding Oregon running back Kenjon Barner to an already stacked backfield.

It's about roles, not a perceived depth chart. Barner's planned role will be very limited in 2013 but expand down the road if he can handle the jump to the NFL.

I guess sometimes the result of a private visit is you get taken off of the teams board. The Panthers brought this guy in for a private visit but he landed elsewhere as a UDFA:

Undrafted free agents 2013: 10 best signings -
Alvin Bailey, OG, Seattle Seahawks No team has done a better job of uncovering high-talent, low-production college players and turning them into quality NFL players than the Seahawks. Can they do that again with Bailey? He's big, agile and doesn't shy away from contact, but was often beaten by stunts and had a lot of trouble with consistency. Like Nixon, if he can tap into his considerable physical tools, he can be an impact NFL lineman.

Bailey was one of the Panthers 28 known private visits but they were apparently not a match. Quite the opposite result from Kawann Short's visit, who openly admitted the Panthers were at the top of his wish list simply as a result of his visit. Before you fault the Panthers for not getting Bailey 30 other teams passed on him as well.

Another positive grade for the Panthers:

2013 NFL draft grades: An 'A' for effort goes to ...
Carolina Panthers: They only had five picks, but new GM Dave Gettleman appeared to get impact players. DTs Star Lotulelei (Round 1) and Kawann Short (Round 2 with Round 1 talent) could form one of the league's scariest lines in between DEs Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy. Sixth-round RB Kenjon Barner could be a slippery change-of-pace option who could potentially allow Gettleman to trade Jonathan Stewart or DeAngelo Williams down the line. GRADE: B+

I'm not ready to put this kid under that kind of pressure. He has to prove he can hold on to the ball first.

I think people give 'B' grades when they just don't want to spend the time doing a real evaluation:

Grading the Draft: NFC South Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Carolina Panthers, Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints | The Pigskin Report
Carolina Panthers- In 2011 the Panthers drafted two defensive tackles and repeated the procedure in this draft, this time hoping for better results. The Panthers might have gotten a steal with DT Star Lotulelei falling to 14. They added Kawann Short in the second. Grade B

That one is a little short on details. I'd give it a 'B' as far as draft grading ability goes ;)

I might like this 2014 1st round pick for the Panthers if I could get past the position in which we are picking:

2014 NFL mock draft: Teddy Bridgewater, Jadeveon Clowney lead the way -
11. Carolina Panthers: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson Watkins has been a star at Clemson since his freshman year and is a legit No. 1 wide out. At the start of the 2014 season, Steve Smith will be 35. Just how productive can he be at that age?

I think it would be safe to say Ron Rivera would be shown the door if the Panthers are picking eleventh overall.

So I found a few sources panning the Panthers draft:

The lack of getting a WR seems to be the common sticking point with the pundits. The Panthers must feel a lot better about the WR position that pretty much everybody else, myself included.

Again, panned for not drafting to all needs:

2013 NFL Draft Grades: Carolina Panthers
Worst Pick: Kenjon Barner, RB/Oregon The Panthers have both DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart who are under contract until 2016 and both running well. The Panthers needed a wide receiver but failed to take one thanks to spending that pick on Barner. He’s not a bad prospect, but he blocked the Panthers from drafting a true need.

Analysis: Carolina needed defense and they specifically needed help on the defensive line. They wasted no time in filling that need, double dipping on defensive tackles and taking two of the best prospects at the position in the draft. But the swing and miss on wide receivers is a massive oversight here and may end up biting the Panthers hard. 2013 Draft Grade: C+

No mention of Barner's skills to justify the 'worst pick' label though I would agree he is not a perfect prospect. Still how is it not obvious Barner has a different skill set than Williams and certainly Stewart or Tolbert?

How many balls would a rookie WR really catch in this offense in 2013? This is an offense that I hope throws the ball more to its backs and Tolbert in particular in 2013.

It's apparent the Panthers are satisfied with the WR trio of Smith-LaFell-Hixon and back-ups like Pilares and maybe Gettis. Don't sleep on LaMont Bryant who showed some real promise last TC. He's flashed very good body control when going up for the ball so at his height he could be a real red zone target.

Regardless of whether the Panthers final three picks pan out like they hope, I think once the seasons starts we will love Lotulelei and Short so much we will look at the last three of icing on the cake.

Keep Pounding!

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