The draft is just a few days away, and this your final chance to speak out. In this article I will list the offensive and defensive poll winners from the previous parts of this series. These winners, for the most part, were in reach of the Panther’s #25 pick in this first round based on Drafttek’s mock. In case you didn’t know, C3’s very own “Mel Mayock” (@PantherDrafter) does the picks and write-ups for the Panthers on Drafttek; it is definitely worth a look if you haven't already done so. Poll voting ends at 4 PM draft day, and the winner will be announced via social media around that time. So without further adieu, here are the players you Panther fans voted for.
Todd Gurley: 48% of the votes.
Gurley is a franchise changing back, one with enough talent to carry a team like Adrian Peterson has done in the past. You don't always want your first round pick nursing an injury around this time, but most think he’ll be good to go sooner than later. There has been talk about him going really high in this draft, this is why there will be a slight alteration to the poll. I’ll beat a dead horse here; Jonathan Stewart can not be relied on to play 16 games in a season. Even if Stewart remains healthy, there isn't really a load carrier behind him, just a few spark plug guys. You will see us address the running back position in the draft most likely, and wouldn't it be sweet if the best in this class fell into our laps.
Melvin Gordon: 12% of the votes.
The nation’s leading rusher this past season fell as a not-so-close second place in this one. Gordon is another guy who can carry an NFL offense, and do it with tremendous results. I was surprised that 60% of the first round votes went to the running back position, considering a lot of Panther fans note how strong Stewart finished the season. Since reports of Gurley going far higher than #25 have surfaced, the poll will contain an option of simply “running back.” Mike Shula’s offense struggles without an established running game; having another game changing back behind Stewart in either Gordon or Gurley will only be for the benefit of the team.
Shaq Thompson: 45% of the votes.
Here is another player atop of the poll that plays a position that’s not really a need of the Panthers. Thompson would add another dynamic to our defense, whether it is at linebacker or strong safety. Some say he could fall out of the first, so it would be an option for Gettleman to trade back and stockpile some more picks and still land his guy. A three headed monster with Thomas Davis, Luke Kuechly, and Shaq Thompson would certainly frighten any quarterback.
Landon Collins: 33% of the votes.
Have you ever been hit by a truck? Most people haven’t, but some SEC running backs probably felt like they have. Collins is a bruiser at safety and comes from one of football’s richest bloodlines in Alabama. We will most likely see the Panthers address the safety position in the draft, and very well could see them do it in the first. Collins and Tre Boston would be a good tandem for years to come; throw in Josh Norman and Bene Benwikere, and you have one of the better secondaries in the league. Can someone say Legion of Ouch?
By Grant Hughes
Follow Grant on Twitter @KenjonVander