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Panthers get a RB or DE in ESPN Dueling Mock

Kiper and McShay put out a dueling mock draft. Here’s what the Panthers got at #8.

Kiper went with a very common pick for the Panthers while McShay went with the best pass rusher left on the board.

8. Carolina Panthers

Kiper: Leonard Fournette, RB, LSU | Watch highlights

Carolina is really the first logical spot I see for a running back, unless a team trades up. Fournette is a special player who has looked like a first-round pick since he stepped on the field at LSU. The Panthers need a successor to Jonathan Stewart, who turned 30 in March.

McShay: Derek Barnett, DE, Tennessee | Watch highlights

The Panthers' three main edge rushers -- Julius Peppers, Charles Johnson and Mario Addison -- will be 37, 31 and 30 years old at the start of next season. In other words, Carolina needs to find a younger player who can get after the QB. Barnett has some of the most impressive production of any pass-rusher in this class, considering the competition he played against (42 tackles for loss and 29 sacks vs. the SEC in three seasons).

With Solomon Thomas now coming off the board at #2 overall in most mock drafts that leaves Barnett as the best true 4-3 DE left on the board. You have to love his production in college. He played in one of the toughest conferences against many NFL quality offensive tackles. Plus he broke The Minister of Defense Reggie White’s UT sack record with 33 sacks in just three seasons to White’s four.

He became the first Tennessee true freshman to start a season opener on the defensive line, setting school freshman records for tackles for loss (20.5) and sacks (10.0) in 2014 to earn Freshman All-American honors. Barnett started all 13 games in 2015 and led the team with 10.0 sacks, adding 69 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss and one fumble to earn Second Team All-SEC honors. As a junior in 2015, he finished with a career-best 13.0 sacks and also led the team with 19.0 tackles for loss and two forced fumbles to earn First Team All-SEC honors.

Barnett brings something that was sorely lacking in DE Kony Ealy and that is consistency. He would be almost a mirror image of DE Charles Johnson in his prime years.

At #40 I found it interesting that both Kiper and mcShay went OT for the Panthers but picked different players.

40. Carolina Panthers

Kiper: Antonio Garcia, OT, Troy | Watch highlights I expect the Panthers to pick an offensive tackle at some point in the draft, and the No. 8 overall pick is too high. They added Matt Kalil, but Mike Remmers left in free agency, and Michael Oher missed 13 games last season (concussion). Garcia, my No. 4 tackle, is athletic with quick feet.

McShay: Taylor Moton, OT/OG, Western Michigan

A four-year starter, Moton would be a great fit for Carolina's power run game. He proved to be very durable in college (52 career starts), and he will be able to provide depth at both guard and tackle early in his career.

Moton looks like a RT to me so he would fill much needed depth there behind Darryl Williams (and Michael Oher if he returns). Honestly I find it hard to argue with taking an OT at this point regardless of whether you think this is too high for either of these players.

At #64 Kiper and McShay go in different directions.

64. Carolina Panthers (from Patriots)

Kiper: Tim Williams, OLB, Alabama | Watch highlights Williams is a stellar pass-rusher who needs to improve the rest of his game. He didn't put up big numbers at the combine, including a 4.68 40 and 33½-inch vertical, and he's a little small at 6-3 and 244 pounds, but he could find a role as a pass-rusher in a 3-4.

McShay: D'Onta Foreman, RB, Texas

A one-year starter, Foreman rushed for more yards per game (184.4) than any other back in the FBS last year. He reportedly ran in the mid 4.4s at his pro day after weighing in at 234 pounds. That's an excellent size/speed combination. While his pass-catching limitations might cause him to fall, Foreman would be a good Day 2 backup plan for the Panthers if they're unable to nab Leonard Fournette in Round 1.

I’m not sure what Kiper is thinking here as Williams does appear to be a better fit for a 3-4 defense, which is not the Panthers scheme. He seems to be a strong-side LB in a 4-3 which is something the Panthers don’t really need right now, but that doesn’t mean the Panthers wouldn’t pick him. They very well could.

Foreman on the other hand is a common mock pick to the Panthers though #64 is a little earlier than many think he is worth. He is certainly built in the mold of a Panthers RB (much like Stewart himself) and could be a target if the Panthers pass on a RB at #8.

So in summary here’s who they send to Carolina with these three picks:

Kiper: Fournette, Garcia, Williams

McShay: Barnett, Moton, Foreman

So what do you think of these two mocks?


Do you like either of these mock drafts for the Panthers?

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    Kiper nailed it
    (227 votes)
  • 28%
    McShay nailed it
    (353 votes)
  • 27%
    I dislike both
    (340 votes)
  • 11%
    I’d take either one
    (140 votes)
  • 13%
    (162 votes)
1222 votes total Vote Now