For the last four seasons, at this time of the year we Carolina fans have had our sights set solely on the upcoming draft and all the potential players that the Panthers front office could end up drafting. Why buck that trend? Post-season Schmost-season, this is a time for wildly inaccurate and poorly researched mock drafts, where people pretend to know what GMs will decide to do in 5 months time. You are reading an article from one of those people.
However, this time, rather than bore people with a mock draft which is so absurdly pointless before FA, trades and draft build-up, I would like to focus on someone that I have had my eye on for the past year and a half, and yet none of the media analysts seem to be talking about: Donte Moncrief of Ole Miss.
Every team is looking for the new Megatron, and while Moncrief is not that guy, from watching his film over the last two seasons, he reminds me alot of two young superstars that any team would be happy to have on their roster: AJ Green and Josh Gordon. Sure he isnt as polished as Green was coming out of College, but its hard to argue that he doesnt have the size, speed and intangibles to be as good as those two guys.
Standing at 6ft 3 and around 225 pounds, he clearly has the size to be an outside WR in the NFL. He isn't a burner and won't blow you away with 4.3 40 times, but neither were Green or Gordon coming out of Georgia and Baylor respectively. Like these studs, Moncrief is a fluid runner who plays quicker than his 40 time indicates, in part due to his long stride. He has strong hands at the point of attack and is able to go up and catch the ball at its highest point. Like Green, he is also a humble and quiet character off the field and fits perfectly in the mold of Carolina draftees that stay out of trouble and do not draw attention away from the team goal of winning. While he could do with adding some burst to help him out of cuts, he is a smooth route runner and has a relatively advanced route tree for a receiver of his experience. To make an NFL comparison, I would say he most closely resembles Keenan Allen of the Chargers in his ability to get up the field if needs be, but being at his most dangerous in short and intermediate routes where he can win with his hands and understanding of defensive weaknesses.
A highly touted 4 star recruit out of a Mississippi HS, Moncrief has suffered during his collegiate career from some shaky QB play and teams double-teaming and game-planning against him. However, his 20 career TDs in the SEC, along with over 2000 receiving yards, shows that he does have the ability to score points as well. And what's more, he has not missed a game for 2 seasons, showcasing his durability for the future.
The best thing about the whole story? Moncrief is currently being given a 3rd round grade. He flies under the radar because of the poor results Ole Miss have garnered over recent years, and because his production dropped a little this season. However, Carolina would very very wise to give this young man a long hard look at the end of the 2nd round, or perhaps trade up in the 3rd to take him (since I think it is unlikely that he will fall to the end of the 3rd). People learnt this year that a lack of production in College for one year does not necessarily mean a receiver is bad (Keenan Allen) and if Carolina is able to take a top O-lineman or CB in the first round, then grab Moncrief, then the Panthers could become a team that challenges in the playoffs every year for a long time.
There are exciting times ahead for the Carolina Panthers. Do you think Moncrief should be a part of them? As always, please comment and leave any feedback below. Thanks for readin