One upside to a crappy season by the Panthers is that they have the 8th selection in round 1 on April 27th’s draft. The last time the Panthers picked in the top 10, they selected Luke Kuechly. This is an opportunity to add talent to a talented team. Let’s take a quick look at some options and why I like them. The Combine and interviews, along with medical tests will probably reshape the order, but for now, here is who I like with that 8th pick.
Here’s a guy that has it all in terms of natural tools. He is 6’6 and 315 lbs. and has the best footwork of all big men in the draft. He was dominant this year and played injured. Should his hip check out as a temporary setback, he would be an immediate upgrade on either side of the Panthers’s offensive line. Click here to read his scouting report by our friends at DraftTek.
You just can teach this man’s size. 6’6 and 325 lbs with grapevine-like arms to go with quick feet is too unusual of a trait to pass on. He had a poor game here or there, but he was great against consensus #1 Pick Miles Garrett and absolutely got better as the year went on. To me, he was the best player on the field during the Peach Bowl, and I really am looking forward to seeing how he plays in the National Championship game vs. Clemson. But having a third Cam on this roster would get me very excited.
I’m starting to put Cook slightly ahead of Fournette in my rankings. Fournette has a more elite frame and physical tools. However, Cook is lightening in a bottle and has much better vision and escape ability than any other running back in the draft. And at 6’0 and 214 lbs., he’s no slouch. FSU’s all-time leading rusher had 1,765 yards at 20 TDs in 2016 and would bring trouble back to the Panthers’ backfield. He could pair with Stew for a year and then be the team’s bell cow for the next 5-10 years. He reminds me of LeSean McCoy and could take our offense to the next level indeed.
I never thought I’d say that the Panthers would miss Roman Harper; however, the Safety position was the Achilles Heel on defense this year. Should the Panthers select Adams out of LSU, they would immediately upgrade their secondary. Adams has Luke Kuechly-like instincts and is a Josh Norman-like, feisty-competitor. He would fit in as the Panthers’ strong safety and would be a perfect complement to Kurt Coleman.
At 6’1 236 and a high school track star, there is no better pure athlete in this draft than Leonard Fournette. He is big, powerful and fast and reminds me of a young Adrian Peterson. My only problem is and hesitation with him is I think he needs a fullback to clear the way for him as he doesn’t have the vision that Cook does. And until the Panthers make that a priority, it doesn’t look like he’s the best fit in Carolna. But with his elite ability, he has to be in the conversation.
Stay connected to C3 all draft season as we talk about all the Panthers’ news. The next C3 Draft Party is going to be our best yet. Be sure to join us on Draft Night for our annual hangout party. And keep your eyes peeled for our annual Draft Guide.