What would another 7-9 season mean to the Carolina Panthers? It would surely deflate the fan base further, Ron Rivera would almost certainly lose his job, and while the team helped themselves greatly through the 2013 draft -- it remains to be seen whether those picks will immediately translate into wins. The folks over at Mocking the Draft are already putting out 2014 mocks, and it has the team addressing two needs -- but wallowing in mediocrity.
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've linked Watkins for a long time, and think there's a chance he could be the best wide receiver since A.J. Green -- but his drop in performance last year was worrisome. If he returns to his freshman form, then he'll absolutely be the first receiver off the board, and could go in the top 5. However, more struggles could push him down further -- and then the questions begin.
Getting a wide receiver has gone past luxury, and will be a peerless need in 2014. This makes a lot of sense.
11. Carolina Panthers: Aaron Colvin, CB, Oklahoma
Colvin has good size (6'0, 181-pounds) and is a proven ball-hawk at the cornerback position. Last year he finished with 4 interceptions, and 9 passes defended -- offering something a play maker at the position the Panthers haven't had in... well... forever.
Despite it making sense, I'm not sure we'll see an early-round cornerback until the rest of the roster is set. Dave Gettleman wants pure pass rushing to be his first line of pass defense, and to this end it seems like the team will use the 'bigger fish to fry' approach to the draft until a corner is the best player available.