Over the past few years most Panther fans have already found themselves in Draft/Free Agency mode at this point in the NFL Season. Fortunately the script has been rewritten for 2016 as Carolina finds themselves playing in the NFC Championship game. However, there is no time too early to start looking at college prospects that may fit Gettleman’s mold. Someone that may strike the Panthers’ eye is South Carolina State defensive tackle Javon Hargrave. Hargrave is a late riser in the scouting process, but has been rising up draft boards after a strong showing at the Shrine Game.
What Kind Of Player Is He?
Coming out of a small school in South Carolina State, no one can be sure how Hargrave will perform against a much steeper level of competition. What we do know is that he has absolutely dominated every level of competition he has faced thus far. His 16 sacks and 23.5 tackles for loss this past season certainly pop off the stat sheet, but it was his recent performance at the Shrine Game that is even more encouraging. NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah said Hargrave “has an excellent combination of quickness and power” and “has been the best player here” when covering the the game’s standouts during the previous week of practice. Standing at 6’1’’ and weighing 315 pounds, he is similar in size to Star Lotulelei (6’2’’, 311) and his 40 time of 5.12 closely resembles that of the lighter and taller Kawann Short (5.08). At this point Hargrave firmly falls into the “project” category; he has all the athletic tools in the world, but lacks the technique needed to make an early impact in the NFL.
What The Experts Are Saying.
Lance Zierlein’s scouting report contains no surprising information, as his strengths are strong and his weaknesses are well, weak. Although I’m certainly no expert, after watching some of his tape I see a quicker and less talented Star Lotulelei or something similar to a young Dwan Edwards. Zierlein’s full scouting report can be found here.
How He Fits On The Panthers.
As KK and Star enter the last year of their contracts, the Panthers may have a hard time extending both. With primary backup Dwan Edwards clearly on the decline and on the books for just one more year, the Panthers will be thin at defensive tackle even if they can manage to resign both Lotulelei and Short. A early round tackle or a solid young free agent will be needed to address this problem, but look for Carolina to keep their strengths stronger and address the position multiple times. Enter, Javon Hargrave; the young tackle can develop behind Star and Short for a year before performing in any role he’s asked to after the next season. The ideal situation would be for the Panthers to lock up their two star defensive tackles for the longterm, but the NFL is not always a picture perfect league. The drafting of Hargrave in the 3rd-5th rounds would give the Panthers a solid young rotational defensive tackle who could perform as a spot starter and keep the starting defensive lineman fresh for years to come. A local small school prospect all of Panther Nation can get behind, lets hope to see Hargrave don a panther jersey come draft time.
By Grant Hughes
Follow Grant on Twitter @KenjonVander