Mel Kiper grades the Panthers draft

Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

You can claim Kiper is a lot of things, but when it comes to the Panthers at least he's consistent.

The NFL Draft is over, the picks are in and every fan base is going through a blend of excitement and depression. Now we have the grades from Mel Kiper of ESPN to see how the Panthers did.

Kiper is the picture of consistency, which is to say he didn't like what the team did. That shouldn't really be a surprise, because that's become his raison d'etre over the past few years. I don't think it's anti-Panthers bias, or any of that nonsense -- I simply believe he values things in players that don't often translate to success on the field.

Case in point: 2010, Kiper gave the Panthers a "B" which is the best they've done in a while, that draft class is now infamous as being one of the worst in team history.

The grades are available for ESPN Insiders, but here's a brief overview.

Needs: C-

Value: C

I'll concede the "needs" grade, but we kind of knew the Panthers weren't going to be overly invested in filling their obvious gaps anyway. This team is all about the long view, which makes them susceptible to being slammed by the rapid reactions.

That said, giving them a "C" for value is kind of hilarious. Let's take into account that Kiper is likely basing this off his Top 100 rankings, because that's how he evaluates "value." Now let's look at two teams who took two players in his rankings.

Carolina Panthers: Kelvin Benjamin, 28th overall (Kiper rated 27th overall), Kony Ealy, 60th overall (Kiper rated 43rd overall). Two round value of +18.

Dallas Cowboys: Zack Martin, 10th overall (Kiper rated 10th overall), Demarcus Lawrence, 34th overall (Kiper rated 49th overall). Two round value of -15.

The Cowboys were given a "B" grade for value.

When it's all said and done...

This appears to be a really solid one for the Panthers. Nothing that leaps off the screen, but a group of players who fit what the team wants to do. These are scheme guys, not universally hailed picks -- so it takes a higher level of understanding to get why they made the decisions they did. Certainly more than national writers understand.

These picks were insurance policies as much as building for the future. If there's a running back you believe in then it makes sense to get him when your others are 30+ years old and unable to stay on the field. When there's a first round grade on a defensive end you're foolish to ignore him when your current guy is on a franchise tag.

In 2010 Kiper gave the Panthers a "B" overall, the draft sucked. 2011 saw a C grade, the team found its franchise quarterback. Then 2012 gave us Luke Kuechly, it received a B-. In 2013 the Panthers made a sensible complete draft that gave them three guys who started, C+.

I'm totally okay with Kiper's "C" grade this year.

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