As the NFL Draft rapidly approaches, Panther fans everywhere are trying to figure out who the pick is going to be #25. The overwhelming consensus by Panther fans is that the Panthers must draft a Left Tackle. I don’t believe that to be the case, as I do believe Gettleman will take who he sees as the most talented player. However, it will be a great story and a great addition to the team if DJ Humphries is the pick and I”m gaining suspicion that he has the highest percentage chance of being the selection.
Why I like him:
Prototypical Left Tackle Size at 6’5 / 307 lbs. and long arms (33 ⅝). Many compare him to D;Brickashaw Ferguson which is high praise. Watch him on film and you’ll see a very athletic guy that plays through the whistle and has a Josh Norman-like demeanor.
I also like a guy that is out to prove someone wrong. As Jonathan Jones of the Observer points out, Humphries was advised to return to school and play his Senior Season. He went against the advisory and declared his eligibility and is now looking like a First Round selection. Think about this, he did not give up a single sack in his last three years of his High School career and was rated as the #1 OT coming out of school. He made the All-SEC Freshman team in 2012. He then suffered a season ending injury to his knee in 2013 and missed a couple of games with chipped bones in his ankle in 2014. This is really the only reason he is not projected in the top 15 IMO.
What Makes Him a Great Story:
This world and this League could use more feel-good stories and to me, a hometown kid coming back to play for the Panthers would be a feel-good story. Humphries is a hometown kid, as he went to Mallard Creek High School. He was absolutely dominant while there and won the Anthony Munoz Award that goes to the best High School Lineman in the country. So to me this is a perfect story that needs a next chapter. Hometown LT comes out early and looking to prove himself while the hometown team desperately needs a dominant player at his same position. See his thoughts on the matter:
OT DJ Humphries: "All my Charlotte friends want me to go to the Panthers so bad... it would be pretty cool to go back home to Charlotte."— CAR Panthers News (@CarPanthersNews) February 20, 2015
So while the Panthers may have their choice of La'el Collins, Arik Armstead, Jaelen Strong and DJ Humpries and all would be good picks, I say "Hey David Gettleman, bring our hometown LOT home and give Cam the protection he deserves."