I've been thinking about all the possibilities that might occur should we draft certain players. At this point, I'm confident that our first two picks will be comprised of some combo that includes WR, OT and/or CB. I also believe that these two picks will start in week one. I have a couple names in mind that I wanted to discuss, and then you guys can add whomever you want to the what if scenarios.
What if we get Cyrus Kuandijao? While I'm sure I spelled his last name wrong, I'm certain that if we draft him and he's healthy, he'll start right away. I think this guy will be penciled in at LT on week 1. He may start pre-season at RT, but during the course of TC and the pre-season, he'll prove to be better than Byron Bell. Bell will go back to RT and be the starter. With a healthy Silatolu and Kugbila at the OG positions, our OL will be better than last year. Rookies often get abused by pass rushers early, so it will be on Cam once again to make up for it by scrambling and getting rid of the ball quickly. However, in this scenario, we'll be better able to run to both sides of the line. This is because of the return of healthy OGs, not the drafting of Cyrus. And this is also based on Kugbila being an upgrade over Chandler. I chose Cyrus because I think he's the better player between him and Morgan Moses.
What if we get Brandin Cooks? Some people compared him to Smitty. Not me. I think if we get him at 28, we have to go OT at 60, and that OT at 60 better be able to start right away. Cam can't throw if no one blocks for him. But suppose we get a solid starting OT at 60, then this pick is okay with me. Cooks isn't a big receiver, but he is fast. He'll stretch the field and make plays. If we get him, that will open up more plays for underneath throws to the RBs, Olsen, and our other receivers, specifically Cotchery. Cotchery isn't exactly slow, but he's not as fast as Underwood or Cooks. Also, I think if we get a receiver at 28, then Avant hardly sees the field at all. In a 4 WR set, the 4th WR should be Olsen. The key to better numbers in the passing game is Cam Newton playing better, and fewer drops. I think Cam will have career highs in comp. percentage, TDs, and QB rating. His YPA will go up an entire yard, an Cooks will lead the team in receiving yards, but not receptions (Olsen will) or TDs (Cotchery will). Cooks could also see time as a return man, eliminating the possibility of drafting a return specialist later. I chose Cooks because of his size and speed. Cam is used to throwing to a smaller, faster guy because of his work with Smitty and Ginn.
If I had my way, though, we'd go OT in the first. We can get Cyrus, Morgan Moses, or another immediate starter. In the 2nd round, I expect one or more of the following players to be available at 60: Jordan Matthews, Jarvis Landry (personally don't want, but he was very productive in college), Cody Latimer, Donte Moncrief, Abbrederis, and maybe a couple other guys I can't remember right now.
What if we get Abbrederis or Coleman, in the 3rd? If we wait until the 3rd round to get a receiver, I expect that guy will start the season as the #3, and will have to battle Underwood to get it. Underwood was fairly productive last year, is still young, and is pretty fast. You can expect him to fight for his job, just like Byron Bell does every year. But if we go that route, then I would expect a starting OT in the 1st, and a starting CB in the 2nd. If that's the case, the run game will be improved, our secondary and defense overall will be better, and we'll need Cam to play that much better. But Cam can do it.
Cam is the key to 2014, not the draft or the receivers. I expect us to be a better football team, and to make the playoffs again.