With the draft season coming to a conclusion in a couple of weeks and everyone that follows the Carolina Panthers voicing their opinions on who they think Dave Gettleman and Co. will have on speed dial come that night in April, let's bring to light a player that makes a ton of sense on so many levels for this team to use their coveted first round selection on.
Nelson Agholor defying the myths of USC WR's
Unless you have been living in the sewers underneath BOA stadium then we all know about the lack of success in the past with Carolina drafting wide receivers that played for the Trojan empire. With the likes of Keary Colbert (2004) and the complete washout in Dwayne Jarrett (2007), this has left a sour taste in the mouths and minds of the Panthers fan base in this regards. If thinking drafting Agholor will lead to the same results, you are gravely mistaken on this one.
The difference here is Agholor actually is a technician at running routes and knows where to find the holes in a defense to gain separation in the passing game. Something that USC WR's were not asked to do under Pete Carroll's tenure as the Trojans head coach during the time of the previously mentioned bust that came from that program. First rule of scouting is never use the team that the prospect played for as a precursor towards your evaluation of the player in question, judge the player not the team.
Agholor showing vision and route understanding
In this video you can understand how Agholor knows exactly how to run the correct routes and gain separation easily for his QB to have an easy throw to move the chains. While playing for USC, Agholor ran the entire route tree and lined up in multiple formations even running out of the backfield on several occasions as a lead blocker for the running game. Agholor demonstrates the ability to understand and run any concepts that will be thrown is way on the next level. Two of my favorite routes USC employed Agholor in was the "smoke" and "inside slant" to utilize his catching ability and speed to turn a small pass play into positive gains like clock work.
Nelson Agholor vs Washington State 2014
Best hands in draft? My vote is Nelson Agholor. 134 targets (104 catches)... I counted 5 drops on catchable/unobstructed passes all year..— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) April 13, 2015
Another element that Agholor brings to the table that his counterparts here in their time with Carolina did not add was the element of a special teams missile that can take it to the house at any given moment fielding a punt return. In the video above you notice how he has the field vision and the quick twitch movements to slice up coverage units. Many will say "the team just resigned Teddy G for that, why waist an early pick for that." My answer to them is "Ted Ginn only signed a 2 year deal and this team never should have Brestin Bersin as a fallback option again."
Number 15's most appealing asset that Dave Gettleman will fall madly in love with.
Yes, Agholor is a special talent no matter what the name on his jersey might have been, but for a team that wants to run the ball and strives for physicality Agholor's run blocking is a thing of beauty. After looking over the rest of the wide receivers in this draft NONE come close in my estimation to this key aspect of what wide receivers will be asked to do in the NFL as what Agholor brings as a run blocker.
I implore those that hold that stigma of "Southern Cal wide receivers suck", please don't apply it in this instance. Agholor is on a whole different level than those of seasons past and it would be a grave mistake to pass on him. I for one would do a walking hand stand up to the podium if he is still on the board when the Panthers are picking in the first round. I tend to be very critical of my expectations for what players futures hold at the next level, especially without ever playing a down in the NFL and only having a short history of their college football careers to go on. So what I am about to say I reserve for the very and I mean very few. Like what I saw in Odell Beckham Jr. coming out of LSU that he will have a bust in Canton baring unforeseen injury when his playing days are over. I see a multiple pro bowler in Agholor with the same possible outcome.