The second round of the NFL draft always shows the disparity between who the media liked and who teams actually wanted at the top of that year's class. This year is no different, and that disparity has worked out in the favor of the Carolina Panthers. The board is still heavy with probably-talented offensive line and defensive back prospects.
The Panthers don't have a slam dunk starter at either left guard or free safety. Their depth across the line and the defensive backfield is also perilously thin. An ideal second round pick can go a long way towards filling one of those holes. But which one should they focus on?
Their pick should be an offensive tackle. Daryl Williams is an unknown quantity following his knee injury last year and may ultimately return as a better guard than he ever was a tackle. Picking a tackle in the draft affords the team the flexibility to field five talented linemen with a modicum of insurance in the event of injury.
Most of the remaining tackle prospects have the capacity to kick inside to guard if needs be. The same can't be said of the natural guards. Williams might also factor into the guard plans if the Panthers have an able body capable of replacing him on the outside.
At that point, selecting a left or right tackle is irrelevant because Taylor Moton can technically play both. That leaves the Panthers, assuming the draft board falls even mildly favorably, deciding between a safety and another talented lineman. That should be an easy choice. Put another way, another talented lineman trumps not another talented lineman.
The second right might start with a run on tackles. The Panthers might have a secret yearning for a receiver that most of us have never heard about before. The draft is weird and full of mistakes, so I'm not saying they will draft any protection for Cam Newton. I'm just here arguing that they should.