Hey, Panthers crazies. A lot of developments have been coming to light over the past week or so, and - of course - it's got me thinking about my Panthers offseason and how this is all gonna shake out. To be fair, that's where my thoughts and attention go a lot of the time when not being compellingly demanded by some external factor. Anyways...
I don't know if any of you remember my preferred mock format from past sessions, but I like to highlight a steal for every pick - someone who by all rules of reality shouldn't be there - a reach pick - someone who may not be projected to go this high but appears to be the type of player the org would pursue or uniquely fills a niche that is wanting on the team - and finally settle on a realistic scenario target whom I advocate for at the moment.
The only thing you need to set the stage is that the improbable has happened and Da Kraken has been retained before the mock draft starts.
Got all that? Here we go:
First Round Steal - The temptation is to go offensive lineman here, Zack Martin in particular because of his ability to slide inside from tackle and pretty much line up anywhere. I'm not going that way both for literary purposes, and because he duplicates the utility on the offensive line Clemson's Brandon Thomas would serve if we picked him up later in the draft. Here you could look at Louisville Safety Calvin Pryor or Oklahoma State Cornerback Justin Gilbert. Either would be magnificent to help shore up the backend of the defense over the longhaul. In my opinion, though, when you build a defense you build that sucker straight up the middle. Pryor would make so very much sense to patrol the backfield. Implications, Godfrey and Mitchell can walk, and we've got a younger, more athletic option to be the quarterback of the secondary for years to come. There's no denying how much it would help to have that guy to go sideline to sideline and ballhawk behind Luke and TD. If he's there, sign me up.
First Round Reach - The need for a Smitty successor has weighed heavily on the top of my mock drafts for years. There's one guy in this field of wide receivers who has commanded my attention all season, seen a lot of ups and downs as a prospect in the national media, and came through swiftly at the Combine. Vanderbilt Wide Receiver Jordan Matthews may not be the most explosive option in the field, and he also may not be the most technically sound. One thing he may very well be is the most well prepared and determined to succeed at the next level. He has his knocks and speed was my main one coming into the process, but he was track-fast in Indy and has all the intangibles of a guy who will be in the league for quite awhile. Think Moose with pop. Hard to turn down, right? There may very well be more intriguing prospects from certain standpoints on the board even at his own position. Nonetheless, I can envision a scenario where Beckham and Benjamin are off the board, and rather than go with Lee or Cooks the FO sees a winner in Matthews. I would be in no position to disagree.
First Round Value Pick - Virginia OT Morgan Moses. Dude isn't perfect, and if we were back in the top-15 I'd be almost giddy with misery from last season and pegging Taylor Lewan as Jordan Gross's replacement. Ain't gonna happen. I don't really know a lot about how things looked for OL in Indy, coming off the ACC season dude went to Mobile and beat up on some tough lineman. Charlottesville ain't the hippest place on Earth, but it doesn't seem like a place where dummies attend. What he is is what we've always needed, and now desperately need to avoid wanton destruction, an immediate starter at right tackle who can step in for Gross at left. I'd also venture to say he also qualifies as a "hog mollie." Step right up!
Disclaimer: This is on the assumption Martin lines up for Miami in TC. I don't see him getting here but would prefer to Moses.
That was fun! Shall we?
Second Round Steal Pick - Tennessee OT Antonio Richardson. Hey, he wasn't nimble of foot in Indy. You get what you get. In this case, that's like 6'6' 300 and some odd pounds that has been trained from childhood to maul people just after the snap. Again, he ain't perfect, but we'd be glad to have him... You could even say Cyrus Kouandjio if we find out surgery will fix it or whatever, or the FO decides there's something there. I'm not touching that, however. I've seen enough. An even more intriguing proposition at this spot could be Austin Sefarian-Jenkins to put some umph! in our two TE sets to compensate for the moves on the OL edges. I could really dig that. He could even wind up being there, though.
Second Round Reach Pick - For this exercise, I'm going to lump several players together so I can vent on something even I've fallen prey to watching the Legion of Boom win ball games. Jean-Baptiste/Keith McGill/Pierre Desir are all intriguing for obvious reasons, but not this intriguing. I'd rather have a guy like Kyle Fuller or Lamarcus Joyner or even Roberson or Purifoy who tested slow in Indy. At least these guys have highlights and aren't purely intrigue or potential. That said, I could be wrong. Another option on the reach could be the afore-mentioned OG Thomas. I love that they connected with him and wouldn't complain at all if he was brought in after this pick. Hell, I'll write a fanpost saying how Getts is a genius for eyeing his guy and getting him. Not here, though.
Second Round Value Pick - The man, the myth, the legend from Ole Miss; Donte "T.D. Grabba" Moncrief. Sorry about the nickname, I got carried away. You want a size/speed combo? Check this dude out. He could add the explosive element on the outside that has been lacking for the Panthers. Don't get me wrong, he's not as elusive as Beckham or Cooks, and he doesn't have the Mike Evans type of shield the defender and pull it in thing. If he did, we wouldn't be able to get him here. Pair him up with say, Hakeem Nicks, and move Smitty to the slot and we'll be hell on NFL defenses. I feel like I just got deja vu writing that. There's such a thing as too soon, but is there such a thing as too late? Probably.
After two rounds it gets rather murky, but I tried to stay true to where it appears prospects will go, and I came out with Moses, an LT, and Moncrief, a WR. One question: Can you dig it? [Intended to be read in internal Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka voice]
Author's Note: Please feel free to use this concept in your own mock drafts. I find it more analytic and it provides an opportunity to put ideas out there on many prospects. I can't imagine how good this would be if somebody who knows scouting did these, or three or a dozen even on this site. I readz 'em all if they ain't in word books.