I've come to a certain epiphany, and I've realized that regardless of what happens on the 1st day of the draft, Carolina is going to grab SOMEONE worth getting really excited over; whether it be Zack Martin, Eric Ebron, Taylor Lewan, Odell Beckham, Marqise Lee, Kyle Fuller, Calvin Pryor or even the dark horse guys like Shazier or Ealy. That seems like a no-duh, statement, saying we're going to get someone; but my point is that far too often when someone is mocked to us at 28, people approach it the pessimistic way and claim "he won't be there when we pick." I've realized after so many attempts at fanspeak's mock draft simulator that ONE of these extremely coveted guys is going to fall to us thanks to just how strong of a draft class this year is. If teams go QB heavy early, that leaves a lot of guys open for us. If teams begin making a run on this year's WR class, then a few O-linemen may slip through the gaps; it works vise versa as well. If teams go completely offensive heavy, then some of these top notch Defensive guys will be available. My point being that based on how everyone else picks in front of us will depend on which kind of direction we'll take in the 1st round, and regardless of that direction, we're going to walk away with a steal.
Here's my Carolina's mock draft 164732.0:
28. Zack Martin - OT Notre Dame 6'4" 308lbs
In this version of the simulator, teams went WR heavy, resulting in Zack Martin falling to our laps. Zack Martin has the ability to come in and start right away at Left Tackle for the Panthers. He doesn't possess ideal size for a Tackle, but what Martin lacks in size, he makes up for in wideness. Martin is a brick wall when players try and run through him. He is a master of his technique, and Martin possess every tool you look for in a tackle. This would cause many people to jump in joy if were are able to land Martin. If you were like me, and skeptical of taking a smaller OT to be our new LT, this film against Stanford's stout defense may warm you up to the idea of Martin more.
Zack Martin (OT Notre Dame) vs Stanford 2013 (via Aimal Arsalla)
60. Stephon Tuitt - DE/UT Notre Dame 6'5" 304lbs
Drawing inspiration from carolinapillpusher in his The Panthers Identity Draft (Dave Gettleman Trolling Us), I believe that Gettleman will pull a fast one on us fans within the first two rounds and take a talent like Tuitt or someone similar. Tuitt is a hog mollie if ever you saw one for a DE. Tuitt is extremely versatile, and can play DE or Undertackle for us in our 4-3 defense, making our strength into something of legend. Adding a guy like Tuitt into the rotation benefits the defense by keeping them from wearing down as the game progresses. Guys like Greg Hardy, Charles Johnson and our Defensive Tackles will be playing closer to 100% in the 4th quarter thanks to the rotation of Tuitt with guys like Dwan Edwards and Colin Cole and the solid contributions of Frank Alexander and Wes Horton.
Stephon Tuitt Highlights - HD (via teabagtimtebow)
92. Paul Richardson - WR Colorado 6'0" 175lbs
Here's our wide receiver to groom behind our stop-gap veterans in Avant and Cotchery. Paul Richardson is dynamic, and brings a vertical presence to an offense's arsenal. He needs to add some more weight before being thrust into a full blown starting role, but Richardson has shown he's already on the way to achieving that. With the addition of Richardson, coupled with our new FA WRs and our #1 pick, the offense is slowly taking shape. It will be interesting to see how long it will take Richardson to become the weapon we need him to be, but it will be fun to see Richardson burning NFL offenses in the near future. Speed with the ability to make acrobatic catches? I'll take him.
Ultimate Paul Richardson Highlights | HD (via TheFootballman175)
128. Pierre Desir - CB Lindenwood 6'1" 198lbs
Pierre Desir is a tall, lengthy corner that fits the mold of what NFL teams are looking for in CBs in today's NFL. With the addition of Cason and Desir, Carolina's secondary looks much better than it did last year with Munnerlyn and White. Desir would come in and immediately compete for playing time opposite Cason with White, and the loser would make a solid Nickel CB. Desir isn't flashy, and is not going to make amazing interceptions. The reason is because QBs simply won't throw it Desir's way. With that tenacious front 7 stronger than it was last year, Desir will have an opportunity to grow, learn and adjust without the pressure of being thrust into a mediocre defense getting wailed on by opposing offenses.
Pierre Desir Lindenwood Highlights ᴴᴰ (via Harris Highlights)
168. Dontae Johnson - DB North Carolina State 6'2" 200lbs
Some say CB, some say Safety. Regardless, Dontae Johnson is an excellent pickup to add to a secondary trying to get bigger. Similar to Desir, in Carolina Johnson won't have the pressure of having to learn everything at once--even if he becomes a starter (i.e. Melvin White and Robert Lester). Our front 7 is THAT good. Johnson could come in and compete at almost any DB spot, and he brings a physicality and toughness to a secondary.
Dontae Johnson vs Vanderbilt (2012 Music City Bowl) (via DCheeseB)
204. L'Damian Washington - WR Missouri 6'4" 195lbs
L'Damian Washington is a big receiver that needs a little more time to develop. But if he does develop, this could be a draft day steal. He has all the intangibles, he just needs to work on his hands and route running among other small things that could make him a legitimate down field threat.
225. Charles Leno - OG/OT Boise State 6'4" 303lbs
Charles Leno played Tackle for Boise State, but unlike Martin, he doesn't display the ability to become a solid outside linemen, but appears like he could excel in a situation where he had help on both sides of him (making him a Guard in the NFL).