5 Draft Prospects and Free Agents who would add needed speed to Carolina's Roster.
A late season, speed and movement did wonders for our offense and defense. With the addition of 4th and 5th rounders Tre Boston and Bene Benwikere to the starting lineup, the secondary gained much needed speed and playmaking ability. Philly Brown added a deep threat element to the offense in contrast to slow motion Jason Avant. To get our team up to speed (pun intended) and back to above .500 form, players such as Roman Harper and Jericho Cotchery need to be permanently supplanted in the starting lineup. Here are several players who could do just that.
1. Ty Montgomery, WR, Stanford (40 time: 4.46)
The 6’2 Stanford receiver would be a welcome sight in Carolina. He could develop into a very solid #2 receiver opposite of Kelvin Benjamin and fix our special teams problems. He earned All-American recognition at kick returner while averaging 30.3 yards per return. He would be very hard to pass on with the 25th pick in the second round.
2. Sammie Coates, WR, Auburn (40 time: 4.36)
The blazingly fast vertical threat from Auburn posted a respectable 21.8 yards per catch this season. He is also very strong, making him capable of constantly beating press coverage. Gus Malzhan’s run heavy offense has also made him a willing and capable blocker. Cam would defiantly welcome a fellow Auburn player to the roster. I say he could be available in the second or third round, depending on Combine performance.
3. Anthony Harris, SS, Virginia (40 time: 4.57)
Some may look at a 40 time in the 4.5s and tell me, “How can that be a speed injection at a safety position?” The answer? Roman Harper. Though Harris may not be the fastest possible answer at safety, he is quick on the field and is fast to accelerate. Drafting him to pair with Boston would give us a formidable pair of young safeties. Lets hope he falls to us in the second round, picking him up in the first is also an option.
Fun Fact: Going into his junior year Tre Boston was #25 on Bleacher Report’s speediest guys in college football.
PJ Williams, CB, Florida State (40 time: 4.48)
PJ is a tall and fluid corner who could be a day one starter for the Panthers. Clocked with an unofficial sub 4.4 40 time, he could start opposite of Josh Norman and move Big Play Bene back to the nickel. He would give Carolina a three headed monster at corner, daring opposing teams to run it at the stout front 7. Seattle who? Could see him going going anywhere from the bottom of the first to the middle of the third round.
Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon (40 time: 4.46)
Ekpre-Olomu’s game is almost as unique as his name among the college ranks. The ball-hawking corner from Oregon was sorely missed in the championship game, where he was out with a torn ACL. His size (5’9) best suits him for the nickel position in the NFL. Selecting him would have to show faith in Benwikere’s ability to keep up with faster receivers on the outside, and how he recovers from injury. A first round corner before the injury, I still have a hard time seeing him fall past the third round.
Bonus: Dallas Burroughs, WR, Boise State (40 time: low as 4.28)
His stats don't scream NFL, or Division 1 for that matter. Would be a good option to try him out to see if he can catch a punt and make him a priority UDFA. He is just so fast. Clocked running a 10.34 100m dash, to put that in perspective, Usain Bolt’s world record in that category was 9.58 seconds.
1. Shareece Wright, CB, San Diego (40 time: 4.46)
The 27 year old corner has improved drastically this season, making him a priority for the Chargers. San Diego may not be so eager to give him a big contract with veteran Brandon Flowers (a Tom Telesco fav) and rookie Jason Verrett expected to be on the roster next season. Gettleman could give him a decent contract and potentially have a steal. He has experience in the return game also.
2. Buster Skrine, CB, Cleveland (40 time: Combine low 4.29)
A big bright spot for the Browns this year, Skrine will defiantly be on the free agent radar of many teams this offseason. Could be the victim of the numbers game in Cleveland with All-Pro corner Joe Haden and rookies Justin Gilbert/Pierre Desir showing some promise. It is also likely they resign him to a short deal in case neither of the rookies pan out. Nevertheless, the addition of Skrine would be a welcome sight in Carolina.
3. Da’Norris Searcy, SS, Buffalo (40 time: 4.55)
The blockbuster free agent signing of Jarius Byrd to the Saints left some extra minutes floating around in the Bill’s backfield. Searcy capitalized with a career high in interceptions (3) and interception return yards. The 5’11 North Carolina alum played 10 games during his senior season with current Panther safety Tre Boston. Buffalo wants him back, hopefully a possible return to North Carolina is too good to pass up.
4. Jeremy Maclin, WR, Philadelphia (40 time: 4.45)
The often injured receiver played his first full season since 2010 and posted career highs in yards, touchdowns, receptions, and yards per catch. He will certainly be a priority for Chip Kelly and the Eagles. I think he would be the perfect compliment to Kelvin, and finally give Cam the weapons he needs. Lets just hope the possibility to play with a quarterback not named Mark Sanchez and Nick Foles could be enough to lure him to the Panthers.
5. Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay (40 time: 4.46)
Following the same story line of Maclin, the injury prone Cobb looks to cash in big this offseason. A beneficiary of Aaron Rodger’s greatness, Cobb went for 1,287 yards and 12 touchdowns. Trying to land him would make Gettleman a jewelry shopper, but not necessarily at Tiffanys. With Jordy Nelson anchoring one receiver spot and rookie Davante Adams showing promise, Green Bay may look elsewhere. Maybe the Panther’s will be players.
Answers on our roster?:
Kevin Greene, TE, (40 time: 4.43)
The first year player out of USC is an intriguing prospect at tight end. A possible developmental project, Greene is pretty fast for a 6’3 247 pounder. It also cant hurt that he shares the name of a former Panther great.
Stephen Hill, WR, (40 time: 4.36)
People make him out to be no better than a peewee player. But can you imagine being a raw prospect from an option offense and then being dubbed the “next Calvin Johnson.” After that you get selected by the mess we know as the New York Jets, I mean, does anyone succeed in that offense? Lets just watch silently and hope he fulfills HALF of his untapped potential.
Carrington Byndom, CB, (40 time: 4.35)
The only player on this list to actually log time for the Panthers this season. He has the tangibles with decent height at 5’11 and great speed. It is almost as he learned nothing in his 3 years as a starter at Texas. He lacks all sorts of technique and mechanics needed to see success in the NFL. I hope he can put on some muscle and spend a lot of time in the film room, and maybe he can provide solid minutes at a fourth cornerback spot.
By Grant Hughes
Follow Grant on Twitter @KenjonVander