Can the Panthers Catch Another Falling Star?

Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

In the 2013 NFL draft DT Star Lotulelei fell out of the top 10 into the waiting arms of the Panthers in a perfect BPA meets huge need scenario. So could that happen again in 2014? This is the start of a series looking at players in the top 20 of most pundit big boards to see which prospects might also fall to the Panthers and again make the choice at #28 an easy one.

The positions I would call in 'huge need' of a talent upgrade is OT, WR and CB so I will be focusing on them to begin with. Other positions that have needs or at least need depth are S, OG, TE and OLB so we will look at those as well. Finally I'll wrap up with the positions were I doubt the Panthers would use a high draft pick, like QB or RB. Might there still be a prospect there the Panthers would select? We will take a look.

So I'm going to start with Offensive Tackle. Here are the prospects consistently ranked in the top 20 and my thoughts on each and whether they could be a target at #28 if they instead fall to that position.

Jake Matthews (TAMU) - Matthews is a consensus top 5 pick so the chances of him sliding, even if he had a heart condition pop up at the combine, are slim to none.

Greg Robinson (Aub) - Another consensus top 10 pick, Robinson will be long gone before #28.

Now here is where it gets interesting. I think any of these four could slide to #28 and so might be the Panthers pick at #28:

Cyrus Kouandijo (ALA) - This kids game has its flaws but he is so athletic it's just a matter of time before he a very good OT, whether on the right or left. I poor combine result (which I don't expect) might be enough for him to slide to #28 though.

Taylor Lewan (Mich) - Lewan has been ranked all over the first round from 12-30 so there is a good chance he is there at #28 without anything bad happening between now and then. He has the nasty demeanor you love in a linemen.

Antonio Richardson (Tenn) - A massive guy who looks to be able to play either on the left or right Richardson could very well be there at #28. In fact many mock drafts have the Panthers selecting him. He also held his own against Clowney.

Zack Martin (ND) - Martin has had a stellar college career but the big question is whether he can play OT or will he be moved inside to OG. How the Panthers view him in this regard might affect whether they select him if he should be there at #28. After his Senior Bowl performance many are saying he can play OT, where he spent his entire college career.

So those are the four OTs that I think have a chance of being there at #28 when the Panthers select, at least one of them might. Are any of these guys, if the best OT on the board, worthy of the #28 pick? Take my poll to voice your opinion.

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