That time again Panther Nation, might be alittle early in the combine but I figured I would get my picks out early
HOLTY'S MOCK DRAFT 201428 WR KELVIN BENJAMIN FLORIDA STATE
60 OT MORGAN MOSES VIRGINIA
92 DT JUSTIN ELLIS LOUISIANA TECH
124 CB ROSS COCKRELL DUKE
156 DE WILL CLARKE WVU
188 G JON HALAPIO FLORIDA
202 OT KENARIOUS GATES GEORGIA
YOUR PICKS PLAYERS AVAILABLE
K. Benjamin you want upside, big bodied WR, easy pick really my alternative pick was J. Matthews who most view as a safe early second day selection however if Benjamin is off the board look for the Panthers to grab Matthews towards the end of the first round because he is a safe pick to contribute at the next level and does everything right from film study to being clean off the field something the Panther's value very highly.
Morgan Moses easy pick we need a hog molly OT; sounding more likely like Gross may call it a career and if he does our Oline goes from bad to downright awful. Gross is on the fence and whether he comes back or not we need to invest in a big bodied OT for the future; again a position that has been ignored far to long in Charlotte. Moses has good foot work, big legs, an is a true hog molly with untapped potiental; he needs to work on his run blocking but he is a great pick in the second round BPA + Value = Need here. Easy choice and if he is gone still look for us to grab a OT in the second round.
Justin Ellis, surprise a DT in the 3rd ? What no way ? Yes way not a reach at all consider how well Ellis plays an makes impact plays not just your standard running stopping NT. Keep your strengths strong says Rivera and the Panther's reportedly already have expressed a lot of interest in the Hog Molly out of LT. Can easily replace C. Cole UFA this offseason if we let him walk or can replace D. Edwards who is due $1.4 million this upcoming season and could cut due to our cap situation.
Time to address the CB spot and I went with Ross Cockrell CB out of Duke; yes that Duke lol not really known for elite top NFL prospects but hey Cockrell can play the ball well in the air and is good value in the sixth round. At 6-0 190's and a listed 4.5 40 time he should fit in nicely for us in our secondary that may or may not have C. Munnerlyn, M. Mitchell, Q. Mikell, D. Florence, and more. Again though good value here in the fourth.
Curious case of G. Hardy ? The Kraken to most die hard Panther fans. I have spoken on this and been on the fence about it but eitherway drafting W. Clarke out of WVU makes a lot of sense. F. Alexander will be in his third season in 2014 and it time for him to show up or ship out. M. Addison is a speed rusher but struggles against the run, W. Horton is still learning the game at the NFL level. Drafting Clarke who is a project is good insurance in case Hardy levels via free agent market, Alexander continues to be in Riverboat Ron's doghouse, and Addison may also need time to learn to stop the run . I like Clarke and he should be their in the fifth round for us to take.
Oline again ? Yes John Halapio out of FLA is a true man among boys at the college level. 6-3 315lb has room to add weight and is a mauler in the run game but can hold his own in pass protection unlike C. Scott and the turnstile that was the Panthers Oline this past season. Halapio will drop in the draft because he isn't quiet as fast as you would like nor does he always use his elite size to his advance and his reach and arms could be longer but for a sixth round selection this is a killer value bpa pickup for us.
Well we round of the draft with ??? Yes Oline; K. Gates out of UGA is another Hog Molly for our Oline. At 6-5 327lbs and running a 5.25 40 he is a beast. Great in run support , can hold his own in pass protection; however Gates projects more of a RT instead of a LT . Eitherway easy upgrade over B. Bell who shouldn't resign Bell had a great story but he one of the worst starting RT in the NFL for over two seasons now and has to go if the Panthers offense is going to improve in 2014 and beyond.
Well their you have it guys my early combine mock draft; checkout the poll below and let me know what you think.
Go Panthers !