C3 is taking a look at 10 WRs that the Panthers could and should be targeting in the upcoming Draft. We will Chronicle 10 guys (or Cats) and give you some little known information on them.
This is not a ranking based on talent nor production. This is who I see as the best fits for what the Panthers want and need to do to add juice to the Panthers Offense in 2015 and beyond. And we will get these in prior to the Combine that begins on Feb. 20.
There are four players that I did not include in my list as I just don’t see them either being there when we are on the clock, or I don’t see them as “Panther-type players." Those four are: Amari Cooper, Kevin White, DeVante Parker (who I don’t see as available at Pick 28) and I left out DGB as I don’t see anyway the Panthers take the risk with this troubled young man.
I see the Panthers needing speed, good route running, ability to make plays (whether that be YAC or elusiveness) and Special Teams ability. And since the Panthers are a run-first team, I also look for players that are willing and able blockers both in the run-game and down field. The more of these traits a player has, the higher on my list they ended up.
And I have to admit that the Combine could reshuffle this order, so I will put out a revised ranking after the Combine. The first Cat that I look to Chronicle is out of Kansas State:
Tyler Lockett WR Kansas State 5’10/180 lbs.
Why he is a good fit:
Coming in at #10 is a guy that would excite me greatly if the Panthers draft in the third or fourth rounds. He is not very big, but he is both fast and quick. He has been clocked at 4.41 and will shoot up draft boards if he tops that at the Combine.
He was also very productive at Kansas State. He had 106 receptions for 1,515 yards and 11 TDs this past season. Add in the fact that he also averaged 21 yards per punt return, and you can see why I would be excited. In fact, he led the nation in punt return yards and that certainly fills a need immediately. A trio of Lockett, Philly Brown and Kelvin Benjamin would be a dynamic and diverse Receiving Corps.
Why he may not fit:
Lockett will have trouble holding up against the bigger DBs that play press coverage. He also likes to catch the ball against his body. Also, at his size, he would be a liability in the run game, as I don’t see him getting out to a second level and taking on a 250 lbs LB very well. And for that matter, a bigger DB would be able to shake him loose and become an extra defender in the run game.
Something you might not know:
One of the best parts of the draft is the stories behind the name. Hopefully this section gives you reason to pull for some of these kids on Draft Day.
Tyler Lockett broke his own father’s school record for receiving yards at Kansas State. His father played in the NFL for seven seasons. To break your father's school record is really cool if you think about it. Also, he won three State Titles in high school (one in basketball and two in football).
He is also an All-American as a Punt Returner and led the Big 12 in receiving.
Lockett is an explosive and productive player that could be a big-time contributor to the Panthers as a punt and kickoff returner. He also could fit in well as a slot receiver but I do not see him as an every down player and he may have trouble physically at the next level. But I will be very excited to welcome him to Panther Nation if his name is called.
What are your thoughts Panther fans? Leave your comments below.