Before we begin, let me add these disclaimers:
Currently, the Panthers hold picks in rounds 2, 3, 4, 6, and 7... This mock draft is projecting us trading our 2011 first rounder (yes, we do it AGAIN for numerous reasons in my opinion) to move into either the end of the first round, or the beginning of the second round this year while picking up a 5th rounder this year in the same trade (we got SF's 2nd and 4th last year for our 2010 first alone)...
Also, several sources are projecting us as getting a 5th, a 6th, and maybe a 7th as compensatory picks for players we lost last season. I went conservative on the compensatory selections and only gave us a 5th and 7th.
All totaled, these changes to our draft give us the 9 picks I have put into this Mock Draft...
Now then, let's get to it... shall we?
LATE FIRST/EARLY SECOND
Sean Weatherspoon, OLB Missouri
Weatherspoon is a beast on the outside and has a nose for the ball. He's extremely high in character and in energy level. He's fast, talks the talk, and walks the walk.
This pick may surprise some folks, but with Thomas Davis back from an injury, and with Diggs' age, this is a spot I look for us to go after early on in the draft. Sure, Anderson stepped up and we still may have Landon Johnson, but getting a guy like Weatherspoon could lock up another starter for our defense for several years.
Personally, I love the guy's motor and he has flat out produced. He also has the ability to shift inside should the need arise, so that versatility adds to his stock. Should he slide out of round one, I see us making the move to go up and get him.
I know what you're thinking. "What?!?!? Not a WR?!?!?!" But, hold your horses... I think Golden Tate is long gone, and it's still a little early for the talent that would be available at this position...
Alternatives: Golden Tate, Navorro Bowman
MID TO LATE SECOND
Austen Lane, DE Murray St.
After moving up in the draft via next year's first rounder, we could look to slide down a little from our current second round pick. Even if we don't, Lane would be a solid pick for our needs here. He's a decently strong, tall, and fast pass rushing end that is a gifted athlete. He has great hustle and decent rip moves.
Sure, we invested a lot in Everette Brown and have Charles Johnson and Hilee Taylor, but we need depth here after letting Pep walk. Brayton's status is still up in the air as well. Lane could come in and compete to start on one side, and at worst, provide solid rotation for those other guys on passing downs.
Alternatives: Arrelious Benn, Corey Wootton
Mardy Gilyard, WR Cincinnati
While this could be a little late for Mardy to be on the board, I think Gilyard is the type of WR we need to pick up first. He's shorter, elusive, and has good hands. He can also help in the return game.
Gilyard will need some strength and conditioning work as well as some minimal technique work, but he'll be learning under on of the greatest receivers ever to play the game.
He's had his issues in the past, but has overcome them to be a solid guy in the locker room and off the field. He once lived in his car for a while after losing his scholarship for failing a class and being accused of cheating in another. He came back after getting back on his feet, worked hard, and re-earned his scholarship.
He's physically and mentally tough, and has all the potential in the world to be a solid WR in the NFL.
Plus, after running over a little kid on the sidelines once, he picked the kid up and gave him a hug... Who can't like a guy like that?!?!
Alternatives: Carlton Mitchell, Dekoda Watson
Dezmon Briscoe, WR Kansas
Briscoe has been my guy for a while now, and I hope he slides this far (for the Panthers prosperity, of course).
He isn't the fastest, most flashy guy out there, but was the number one WR in a passing offense. He has most of the raw tools (he also came out of college early) you could ask for in a posession receiver (frame, ability), and would add playmaking ability to our biggest hole. He has a willingness and good ability to block, although he never really needed to do much.
He and Gilyard could take a lot of pressure off Smith, and would open up our ground game a lot more. That is a scary thought for opposing offenses.
Alternatives: Andre Roberts, Major Wright
EARLY TO MID FIFTH
Brandon Carter, G Texas Tech
Enjoy the picture?
Yeah, this guy has a big nasty streak and plays with super aggression. He's got a big frame, good footwork, and is super competitive.
He was suspended and stripped of his "captain" status for one game for having words for his teammates and coaches after a loss last season, so some may say he's a little over competitive...
I like him a lot though. He's rabid, and fiery on the field. He could come in and rotate behind either Guard spot.
There is a chance he is gone by this area though...
Alternatives: Marshall Newhouse, Pat Angerer, Kavell Conner (hey, then when people talked about Dan Connor but mispelled it, we would all be confused!)
MID TO LATE FIFTH
Myron Lewis, CB Vanderbilt
Lewis has great size and speed, and could surprise a few who have him rated so low.
His numbers suffered because teams chose to throw away from him, but he has great size and speed, and I think he would provide good depth for us.
He may also project to FS at some point, and is a lot similar to Sherrod Martin in my opinion.
Another high character, smart guy that the Panthers like...
Robert Johnson, FS Utah
Where do I begin?
This guy is another one of my favorites in this year's draft.
A product of South Central L.A., Johnson's father was murdered when he was pretty young. He had a tough childhood that fueled him to push himself hard and be all he can be. He has an excellent work ethic, and stands out amongst his teammates.
Does that sound eerily familiar?
Johnson is a typical center-fielder type of FS who isn't all that great in man coverage. He is more suited for zone coverage, which the Panthers tend to use for the FS position.
He has a nose for the ball, lays the wood, and can make plays from the middle of the field. He's also suited for coming into the box and defending the run, although his wiry frame will need to be bulked up a little. He has also run track in his past...
EARLY TO MID SEVENTH ROUND
Chris Marinelli, T Stanford
Another big bodied Offensive Lineman, Marinelli stands out because of his versatility. He can play either Tackle or Guard position.
He plays smart, has a nasty streak, and is strong and vocal.
If he slides this far in the draft, we should ****** him up pretty quick.
Edited by I AM, 04 March 2010 - 01:24 PM.