There is a lot of draft information out there. This page is designed to be a quick resource for Panther fans to get some quick info on my top 64 prospects, specially tuned from a Panthers scouting perspective. Prospect rankings this time of year are fluid, as players will announce they are staying in school, injuries, and just additional information that trickles in can change anything and everything. This list will adjust between now and draft day, so come back often for updated information.
Remember, the comments (or Mel's takes) will focus on the Panthers Drafts needs, and I’ll point out players that I believe fit the Panther’s schemes. However, any NFL fan will have access to some good information here. If you think I’m missing someone or off, let me know about it. Leave a comment or hit me up on Twitter.
1) Leonard Williams USC (So Cal) DE 6’5/291Mel’s Take- Solidified his spot as the top DLman at the Combine. Crazy athelete and showed it. Running a 5.01 at the Combine. Has played both DT and DE and offers a mismatch based on speed for Guards and too powerful for most Tackles. Ran track in High School in Florida. Elite potential but doesn’t dominate on a regular basis. Probably first player taken. But if he falls, the Panthers would be all over him. Definite Top 5 Pick.
2) Marcus Mariota Oregon QB 6’4/220
Mel’s Take- Definite prototypical size and excellent mechanics and seems to be pure class off the field too. Born in Honolulu. Showed his athleticsm at the Combine by leading all QBs in the 40 with a 4.52. Compare that to 4.96 by Winston. Very mobile and can pull it down and run. However, just like it has taken Cam Newton a while to adjust to playing from under center, Mariota will take time to adjust. I take him over Winston every day of the week. He almost exclusively plays from the shotgun but showed good footwork at the Combine. So who he goes to and how he is coached will be crucial in determining his success. Definitely the top QB prospect but I suspect he’ll go to Tennessee as I think Tampa goes hometown with Winston. Should be the first QB off the board but won't be.
3) Kevin White WVU WR 6’3/215
Mel’s Take- Was helped at the Combine more than anyone else. Running a 4.35 and showing incredible fluidity and hands makes him the top WR in my book. JUCO transfer that has been lighting the world on fire in 2014. Solid size with great athleticism. Very good, but not elite speed. Runs very good routes and has great body control. Beats press coverage regularly and would be an outstanding complement to Benjamin. Also a very willing blocker.
4) Amari Cooper Alabama WR 6’1/ 200
Mel’s Take- Also killed it at the Combine and it really is a coin flip between him and White as the top WR. Game-breaking talent that can beat press coverage and accelerate like few players can. Paired with Benjamin, the Panther’s WR duo would be tough to cover. However, he does have lapses in concentration and tends to drop balls is not the ideal size at 6’1. But you can’t argue with his big game potential as he has over 1,300 yards. I see the Panthers taking him if available at Picks 9-16.
5) Jameis Winston FSU QB 6’4/230
Mel’s Take- Winston has it all (Just ask him, he'll tell you): Great size, big arm, and experience on the big stage. And he just wins. Has great on-the-field intangibles and can run a pro-style Offense. His breaking down of plays with Steve Marriucci was quite impressive and MOoch says he was the best he's seen at that. Bone-head off-the-field mishaps are going to cause teams to do extra due-diligence before handing over the keys to their Franchise. Also shows a tendency to force the ball into coverage. Must show he can improve decision making. Top 5 talent that will most likely go #1 to Tampa. I would not pull that trigger though unless I can pay with with crab legs.
6) Landon Collins Alabama SS 6’0/215
Mel's Take- Collins took over at SS for Alabama halfway through the 2013 season. He racked up 70 tackles in that period of time and was Alabama’s best defender at times. He is an elite caliber athlete and has it all as a SS. Can be fooled in coverage and will do better as a SS than FF. Would be a great fit in Carolina where he’d drop down alongside TD and Luke in the Nickel package. Huge upgrade over Harper and could team well with Tre Boston for a long time to come.
7) Brandon Scherff Iowa LOT 6’5/315
Mel’s Take- Pulled his hamstring running the 40 at the Combine. But that really won't hurt him, but his Pro Day will be very important. Big corn-fed Iowa Olineman. Big, thick and powerful. Excellent hands and ability to get to the second level. Has the mean streak you want in an Olineman. He would add immediate help to a run game and is better than average but not elite in pass protection. May end up moving inside to Guard in NFL, so though he would be a solid pick for the Panthers, I don’t see us targeting him in the top 10. If another player is close, look for the Panthers to go Tackle or Defense.
8) Randy Gregory Nebraska DE 4-3 6’6/250
Mel's Take- At first glance I was apprehensive about a 250 lb DE. But at 6’6, he has room to add the weight and Gregory is incredibly consistent. 10.5 sacks in 10 games last year and 5.5 through 7 games so far this year. He’s progressing every week and will probably be a rotational player for a year until he has the weight to set the edge. If Greg Hardy does not return to Carolina, Gregory could be a good Pick in Carolina as you can’t get enough pass rushers.