Cam needs toys and badly. As many of you loyal C3 followers know, I did a countdown last month of 10 Wide Receivers that I believe the Panthers could target in the upcoming draft and why. Below is my new, post-Combine, rankings and why. Remember there were a four WRs that I did not put in my rankings that I would obviously love. In fact, I would trade this year's #1 and next year's #2 to move up and nab Kevin White if the opportunity presented itself. But assuming no trades, below is my list of valued targets for the Panthers.
To see where each prospect was ranked before the Combine, just click on their names and it will take you to my pre-Combine write up.
10. Jameison Crowder- Here’s a guy that didn't move much in my ranking after the Combine. He does drop a little only because others moved up. Jameison is not a burner, as he ran a 4.56 at the Combine and only did 10 reps on the bench. At 5’9 / 185 lbs., one would like to seen a little more speed there. However, he is more quick than fast and is going to be a mid to late round steal for someone and it could be the Panthers. What I like about him, other than being a backyard-baller (from Monroe and went to Duke), is he would be a quick and efficient WR to compliment Benjamin and he would also be an immediate game-changing threat at Punt Returner. So if we could get Jameison in the fifth or sixth round, I’ll be ecstatic.
9. Devin Funchess- Here’s a guy that showed at the Combine that he is a freakish athlete but is lacking elite speed. In fact, he has that has TE speed. He ran a 4.7 40 that is not going to cut it as a WR in the NFL. But he is a guy that will provide match-up nightmares for opposing teams. Do you put a Linebacker on him or a Corner? He would look really good in Carolina as a complementary TE to Greg Olsen. But I wouldn't pull the trigger until Round 2.
8. Tony Lippett- I’m not too proud to admit that I got too excited about what I saw with Tony Lippett on film. I had him as the Panthers #1 value target with us taking him in the Second Round but said his Combine speed will tell a lot. Well he ran a 4.61, which isn’t terrible (especially for someone 6’2/ 193 lbs.), but is not the compliment that the Panthers are going to yearn for to pair with Kelvin Benjamin. In fact, he was worked out also as a DB at the Combine.
However, he is so good at getting open and is a two-way player that I do see the Panthers jumping on him as a mid-round pick (4th Round or so) and loving the versatility. I can see him being a great Corner in this league and I could see him be Moose Muhammad 2.0. He did play three games as a Corner at Michigan St and only gave up 13 yards. Here is a good piece on him from SB Nation if you want to read more on Lippett.
7. Phillip Dorsett- Holy smokes this guy is a burner. He ran a blazing 4.33 40 and reminds me of DeSean Jackson. He also did a respectable 13 reps on the bench press. He would immediately take the top off of Defenses and would open things up for Benjamin. That is why he is moving up. However, at only 185 lbs., he would be a liability in the run game and he may not survive going over the middle. His production at the U was not what you would expect out of the fast player ever out of the U. So I would love him, but no earlier than the third round for me. Odds are someone will take him in the second.
6. Tyler Lockett- One of my personal favorites. If you didn't see my original write up on him, take the time to do so. He blazed a 4.4 40 at the Combine and led the nation in Punt Returns in 2014. He is an impeccable route-runner that can vary his speed n and out of breaks that will gve DBs fits. He sky-rockets up my chart and would be a great second round pick for the Panthers. He may even be the second coming of Steve Smith.
5. Justin Hardy- The man with the golden gloves. He did what I expected at the Combine, running a 4.56 40. He’s not a speedster, but like Lippitt he knows how to get open. And Hardy probably has the best hands in the draft. That would be a great compliment to Benjamin. He also would be a big improvement for us as a Punt Returner. I look for Hardy to be a very solid pickup for someone anywhere from the late third to early fifth round in the draft. Would be a good pickup in the third and a great pickup in the fourth.
4. Devin Smith- Here is another guy that moved up my board. At 6’ and 193 lbs., he has good size to go with electrifying 4.42 40 speed. He averaged an amazing 28 yards per catch at Ohio State. And he’s as quick as he is fast. He will be a dynamite player and will be a great pickup for the Panthers. But will he be there in Round 2?
3. Rashad Greene- Perhaps the most well-rounded WR in the draft. Good enough size at 5’11/ 182 lbs., and good enough speed at 4.53. Where he excels is in his route-running. He is a silky-smooth athlete that knows how to get open and he has great hands. To me, his only weakness is he has not shown to be a great run-blocker but he is going to be a very good get for someone in the third or fourth round. I would love to see that be the Panthers and match him up with his old College teammate.
2. Sammy Coates- Staying at the #2 spot is a guy that I would love to see in Carolina. Folks are going to point out his drops, but I think his hands are good enough and can only get better with time. He is a highly motivated kid that is going to excel in this league. He ran a 4.45 40 and lead all WRs on the bench with 23 reps. He is built like cartoon robot and runs like a deer. He would immediately change the dynamics of our Offense and would take Pick #25 to do it.
1. Jaelen Strong- Here’s a guy that moves to my number one spot and it will take a First Round Pick to get him. Going into the Combine, my only real knock on the guy was his speed. I suspected that he’d run a 4.6 40. Much to my surprise, he busted out a 4.44 40 while coming in at 6’2/ 217 lbs. That is a great combination right there. Also, when I watch him, he varies his route speed really well and is a very good athlete that would be a great pick up for Cam’s toybox. I’d love to see the Panthers pull the trigger at 25 on Strong.
This is an exciting time of year and there is little doubt that the Panthers will look to add to this group during the upcoming draft. Free Agency may dictate how early, so bookmark www.carolinacatchronicles.com and come back often to check for the latest Panther news from a fans perspective.
There you have it Panther fans. What do you think of my list? Hate it? Don’t be afraid to tell me. Love it, do tell and tell me why. All opinions are valued. I’ll tweet all comments out as long as they are relatively clean. Keep Pounding!