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Panthers get much needed depth in Draftwire’s 2018 NFL Mock Draft

See who USA Today's Draftwire projected the Panthers to select in a three-round mock draft.

Virginia v Wake Forest Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images

Recently, USA Today's Draftwire published a three round mock draft. Here are the three players they projected the Panthers to select. Interestingly, I have already written about each in my weekly risers and sliders.

Rd. 1 (No. 27 overall) - Orlando Brown, OT, Oklahoma

Last season, Brown was selected as a second-team All-American, and named the 2016 Big 12 Offensive Lineman of the Year. Brown was terrific in Oklahoma's week two contest against Ohio State’s three future NFL pass-rushers – DEs Tyquan Lewis, Sam Hubbard and Nick Bosa.

My thoughts: Redshirt junior Orlando Brown (#78) has protected Baker Mayfield’s blindside in every game over the last two years. Despite giving up just one sack last season (per PFF), I did have concerns about his ability to remain at LT in the NFL. However, Brown moves extremely well for his size (listed at 6'8, 345) and I think NFL teams will see a Cordy Glenn level talent.

Rd. 2 (No. 59 overall) - Duke Ejiofor, Edge Rusher, Wake Forest

Ejiofor looked explosive in Wake Forest's week four match-up with Florida State, finishing with eight tackles (six solo), and one strip sack.

Pro Football Focus credited Ejiofor with seven run stops on his 32 run defense snaps against the Seminoles. He also generated three hurries on his 26 pass-rushing snaps. PFF then praises Ejiofor’s season thus far:

Ejiofor has been able to generate pressure consistently this season and from both sides of the Demon Deacons’ defense. Ejiofor has provided one sack, one QB hit and five hurries from the left and one QB hit along with seven pressures from the right. Ejiofor has been even more impressive as a run defender and his 13.6 run stop percentage ranks No. 1 among FBS 4-3 defensive ends with at least 90 run defense snaps.

Descended from royalty, ESPN did a nice job on his back story. He is currently tied for second in the nation with 10.5 tackles for loss.

My thoughts: Ejiofor is Wake Forest's best pro-prospect. At 6'4, 270 pounds, he flashed pass-rushing traits that could be special. With a strong NFL Combine performance, he could get drafted in the first round (school's bio states he ran a 4.53 second 40 and had a 39-inch vertical in high school).

Rd. 3 (No. 91 overall) - Simmie Cobbs, WR, Indiana

Simmie Cobbs was very impressive in IU's week one game vs Ohio State. The Buckeyes are loaded with future NFL players, including CB Denzel Ward, and safety Damon Lee. Early in the first quarter, Cobbs made a tremendous leaping one-handed catch along the sideline. Then, in the second quarter, Cobbs used his size to make an eight-yard touchdown catch over Ward. In he end, Cobbs was targeted by IU quarterback Richard Lagow 17 times. Eleven of those were catches, which Cobbs tallied for 149 yards and one touchdown.

In 2015, Cobbs led the Hoosiers with 60 receptions for 1,035 yards. After being named to the Biletnikoff Award watch list over the summer, his 2016 season began with a suspension for the opener against FIU. On the first play from scrimmage after his suspension ended, the receiver tore his ACL and missed the remainder of the season.

Finally, six weeks before the start of the 2017 season, Cobbs was arrested on charges that included failure to identify, resisting law enforcement and public intoxication. Just five days away, IU coach Tom Allen said no decision had been made about Cobb’s availability for the OSU-IU game.

Overall, I think this was a pretty good effort by Draftwire’s Luke Easterling. Brown was my third ranked OT going into the 2016 season, but as just a red-shirt sophomore, he elected to return to school. While technically, he still has one more season of eligibility remaining, It seems doubtful that he would bypass the NFL this time around. Ejoifor is also someone I thought would have entered the 2017 draft class. Had he done so, I probably would have had him as a top-50 pick. With the uncertainty surrounding Cobbs even just days before Indiana’s season opener, I only had a 4-5th round grade on Cobbs. While Cobbs has clearly outplayed that grade, he has not yet duplicated his opening night success (39 yds vs Michigan, 44 vs Penn State).

What are your thoughts?


Which of these players would you most like to see the Panthers draft?

This poll is closed

  • 67%
    Orlando Brown (OT, Oklahoma)
    (223 votes)
  • 27%
    Duke Ejiofor (Edge, Wake Forest)
    (92 votes)
  • 5%
    Simmie Cobbs (WR, Indiana)
    (17 votes)
332 votes total Vote Now