The roster-building process may be a twelve month process; but no week is more important than draft week to establishing a team's’ identity. A team’s superstars are generally not found through free agency. Yes, there are exceptions to that rule, but relatively few. Imagine if the Panthers picked Blaine Gabbert instead of Cam Newton. And imagine if the Panthers took Quinton Coples over Luke Kuechly. Wow, how different would this team be!
So sitting a pick 30, who can the Panthers select that has an impact on their identity? There will be lots of options when the Panthers are on the clock, and Panther Nation is split on which direction to go. Here are three ways we could go along with the reasoning behind them:
1- Defensive End-
The Panthers absolutely will draft a defensive end at some point in this draft. With Charles Johnson at the tail end of his career and Jared Allen having ridden off into the sunset, the Panthers have to grab some talent and they have to make an impact. Generally, DEs take a year or two before they can make an impact so this would have to be the right guy falling for me to see this being the pick. The right guy for me is Kevin Dodd. If he is there, he has to be the selection, unless one other guy is there. Keep reading.
2- Corner back-
Quick, if the Panthers were to play this Sunday, who do the Panthers’ two starting CBs? That’s right, hmmmmm. Losing Josh Norman is quite a blow and look for the Panthers to take at least two corners this weekend. And if Mackensie Alexander, Eli Apple, or William Jackson are there at 30, don’t be surprised if that is how the Panthers go. But more likely, the Panthers turn their attention to the likes of Kendall Fuller in the second round and may even trade up to do so. Here’s a name to watch for the second CB that the Panthers select: Harlan Miller out of Southeastern Louisiana. He is on the Panthers’ radar and he reminds me of a combination of Bene Benwikere and Josh Norman. Quick feet and a smart player, but will take time to develop.
3- Running back-
Alas, this is where I think the Panthers will go in round one. Is this the biggest team need? No way. But the first round of the draft is about finding the guy that you can put on your teams’ cereal box cover. He has to set the tone for who you want to be. And with Jonathan Stewart entering his last year with the Panthers and most likely not playing 16 games, the Panthers have to find his replacement. Yes, they could get someone later on or maybe even next year. But when your running game sucks, and you are a running team, then you suck. See the Dallas Cowboys about that. David Gettleman likes big and powerful men with traits that you can’t coach. Kelvin Benjamin is the perfect example of what the team looks for. There is no player that would be more exemplary of what the Panthers want to be than Derrick Henry. If he is there, he will be the guy and will join Cam Newton, Kelvin Benjamin and Luke Kuechly as the faces of the Carolina Panthers.
This week is my favorite week of the off season and it is the most important. Join the C3 crew this Tuesday night for our weekly Panthers show at 10:00. But also, tune in on Draft Night, when we will have special guests all night long, and will just be having a blast talking about every pick. And if you can’t get enough Panthers Draft info, here is an 82-page Draft Guide that focuses on our team, from our perspective and how each player would make sense in our scheme (or would not make sense). Check it out, and check us out this week. Leave us your comments and be a part of the voice of Panther Nation!
Posted By: @PanthersDrafter
AKA Mel Mayock