I've always been fascinated by the draft, the strategy, the trades, the home runs and the reaches. We all love compiling our draft boards with players that would fall to the 28th pick in the draft, or maybe some would like to sell the farm and trade up for a player like Sammy Watkins or Mike Evans. But we don’t know what will happen especially sitting at the bottom of the first round, anything can happen. So Instead of making predictions, that in all likelihood won’t happen, I’m going to bring some good news and the bad news for Panthers fans this draft. Lets start with the good news:
This wide receiver class has a TON of depth.
Most Panthers fans have been salivating over the possibility of drafting Jordan Matthews with the 28th pick (myself included). But there is a strong possibility that Gettleman will use the pick to bolster the horrible right side of the offensive line. So what will that leave the Panthers? Even if Gettleman passes on the top crop of wide receivers like: Robinson, Benjamin and Beckham there’s a lot of talent left on the board with tons of potential that will be available by the 4th round.
A few names to look at...
Probably a crowd favorite (on this site) would be Martavis Bryant. Has the ideal size and speed of an NFL caliber wide out and likely to be around in rounds 3-4. Another ACC wide receiver that tends to get lost in the shuffle is Devin Street from Pitt. Hailing from Liberty High School in Bethlehem, Pa (10 minutes from where I live). Street is another big wide out that’s had two mediocre quarterbacks in his four years at Pitt but still managed to get better every year. He’s slated by most draft gurus to be a 3-5th round pick. Finally Robert Herron from Wyoming reminds me a lot of to be free agent Emmanuel Sanders. Great quickness and someone that is mocked in the 4-5th rounds.
The Legion of Boom effect.
Media outlets have been enamored with the Seattle Seahawks formula of winning: tall physical defensive backs. Now i’m not sure that NFL GMs are going to jump on this train but it may give the Panthers the advantage if teams are focusing primarily on measurables in this defensive back class. Two prospects that immediately come to mind that get knocked on because of their size is Lamarcus Joyner and Jason Verrett.
Lamarcus Joyner is only 5-8 but he doesn't play that way, he’s a ball hawk with solid technique and If the Panthers part ways with Munnerlyn he could easily step into that position. Joyner could fall to the 3rd round. Jason Verrett is another falling star that could easily be in the Panthers lap in the 2nd round.
The bad news.
This offensive line class is not good for the Panthers.
Right now the Panthers don’t have the luxury of drafting a guy that needs time to be developed. With a turnstile a right tackle the Panthers need someone who can take the job and solidify the right side on day one. There are only three prospects in my eyes that would be an immediate upgrade to Byron Bell on the right side, but sitting all the way at 28th the Panthers have a very slim chance of seeing another Star Lotulelei fall into their laps. An even more dire situation would arise if Jordan Gross retires and the Panthers don’t have the cap space to sign a serviceable left tackle that can take his place. If the Panthers can’t find someone in free agency the best option would be to wait until a loaded 2015 instead of reaching on an OT that could be a project. There is a silver lining to this class of offensive linemen. The right guard is another problem spot on the line that could be addressed in the draft with 2nd round pick from the likes of Jackson, Martin Richardson, Su'a-Filo and Yankey all of which could be an immediate upgrade and help solidify Cam’s right side.