There's a key problem with the whole mock draft process: variables. A team's needs must be kept at the forefront when trying to predict all 32 teams, otherwise you see ludicrous BPA picks that make no sense at stacked position. So too an all-need draft becomes equally silly. What we're left with is analysts trying to project picks based on a depth chart of needs and cross-referencing them with the best players available.
Mel Kiper and Todd McShay released new mock drafts today and both have the Panthers going for decided needs-based picks. You can find each mock here (insider) but this is each analyst's prediction for Carolina.
No. 28 Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia
Analysis: I'm not quite as certain on Moses as Mr. McShay is, but I do think he's a possible solution at tackle for a team that could use more than one. I know wide receiver is a pretty big need, as is help across the secondary, but depth at cornerback and receiver is pretty strong in this draft. If you feel you have an early starter at tackle, it's a pretty good pick. I said before the additions of Jerricho Cotchery and Jason Avant aren't a fix, but given the Panthers' needs, the value here makes sense.
Kiper is referring to Todd McShay's unabashed love for Moses. He has him going at No.19 in his mock, calling him a "better prospect at left tackle than right." The Panthers are in dire need of that, but Kiper still has some questions.
Moses is a guy I feel is being unfairly de-valued by a lot of Panthers fans while being held with some esteem by analysts. The guy isn't perfect by any stretch, but he's not a third round talent -- as some have suggested. It's a testament to how bad the options are that the Panthers could take an offensive tackle at the back-end of the first round and he could start immediately, but such is life.
No. 28 Joel Bitonio, OT, Nevada
Analysis: Two of the Panthers' glaring needs are at wide receiver and offensive tackle, and Bitonio has the potential to develop into Jordan Gross' replacement at left tackle. He doesn't have ideal length but possesses quick feet and good balance. Moreover, he's a tone-setting finisher who gives excellent effort. He's ideally suited for a zone-blocking scheme like Carolina's.
I'm not sold on Joel Bitonio, but the Panthers have interest. He would be Jordan Gross' replacement by position, but it's impossible for this team to find a similar talent based on where they're drafting.
Ultimately I believe Bitonio could be an elite-level left guard, but I have major reservations about him playing the tackle position. This was a guy hovering in the second-third round range following the season, now he's being mentioned in the first. That kind of rapid rise is scary.