As many of you know, aside from helping run this site, I am also the Panthers Analyst for DraftTek.com. DraftTek does a great job and just put a mock draft out today. As an Analyst, I set what the Panthers’ team needs are for the site and I write on who the computer generates as our picks. And if I think the computer got it wrong, I can change it.
Well this week, I was floored. I fully anticipate the Panthers taking SS Landon Collins out of Alabama in Round 1. He is super-talented and happens to fill a big-time need and I believe he’ll go somewhere between Picks 6-10. DraftTek has us picking 8th so I had my write-up on Collins ready to go. He would be a great fit for what we want to do on Defense. But low and behold a few teams pulled surprises and left one of about only four players I would draft above Collins.
No matter who is there when we pick, it will be tough for me to pass on this guy. Landon Collins has played both Safety positions and has excelled at both. And in the Panthers’ Defense the positions are pretty interchangeable so having a guy that can play both is very valuable. Last year, he filled in for Vinnie Sunseri after he went down with an injury. Sunseri (son of former Panthers Asst. Coach, Sal Sunseri) was drafted by the Saints, but Collins stepped in to replace him, there was a noticeable upgrade.
Landon Collins is the prototypical size at 6’0/215 and is blazing fast. He was a track star in High School in Louisiana where he was the State Champ in the 100-meters. Our Secondary desperately needs an infusion of speed and talent at the Safety position and I would be very happy with this selection if he is my highest rated player left when we pick. He fills a need and fits what we do, so he would be in my Top 5 Picks for the Panthers.
However, there are a few guys that I would pass on Collins to draft. And when the Jets took Brandon Scherff with the 5th Pick instead of Cedric Ogbuehi, I took notice. When one of your top 3 players also fills a need and falls to you when you don’t expect it, you have to get excited.
Which need am I referring to? Our biggest one! According to our friends at ProFootballFocus.com, the Panthers’ Pass blocking is the second to the worst in the league. Only Tampa Bay is ranked lower. Further, our Offensive Tackles are two of the worst in the league. Byron Bell has been ranked next to last most of the year and Nate Chandler’s ranking only improves as others get worse. Neither Byron Bell nor Nate Chandler are getting it done and have proven to be the teams’ weakest links.
Now Chandler goes to IR and no one knows who will step in at RT. Will it be Amini Silatolu? He is currently ranked 50th in Pass blocking among Guards, so I’m not too optimistic that he is the answer at Tackle. Though I bet he is an improvement over Chandler. No offense Nate, if you are reading this, but Tackle is not your position. Cam has been sacked 33 times and is hit more frequently than Adrian Peterson’s step-children if he had any (bad joke and too soon probably, and I do not endorse hitting children. Do I really need to clarify that?).
I would be shocked If Cedric Ogbuehi is still on the Board at Pick #8. But if he is, he has to be the Pick. I have him rated as my third best overall prospect in the Draft.
Watch this tape and tell me what you think.
I could see him being the answer at LT for years to come. Where he excels over other LT prospects is his balance and body control. Not to mention the prototypical size of 6’5/305 and long arms. I love how he seems to get in the right position with ease.
These are just two of the talented guys that the Panthers could take in Round 1. Now let’s take a peek at one prospect for Round 2.
We need speed at WR and I mean big-time. Enter this man, Sammie Coates is big, fast, and strong. At 6’2/209 lbs, he runs in the 4.34 40 range and if you ever need someone to lift a truck off of you, you should hope he’s with you. He is country strong. He bench-presses nearly twice his weight (400 lbs.) and uses that strength to get off the line of scrimmage. Sure, he has room for improvement as he has had some big drops. But just having him out there to stretch the Defense will do wonders for our Offense. There are other big and fast Receivers, but I do like Coates and I’d be very excited to see him paired with Benjamin. We could then put Philly Brown in the slot and have a very good set of receivers. Speed would no longer be our issue.
So Panther fans, let me know what you think. Leave a comment and tweet it out there. I will respond to every post in the comments below. And follow me on Twitter at @PanthersDrafter to keep the conversation going.
Follow Mel Mayock on Twitter @PanthersDrafter