At last, we have arrived at NFL Draft week as the Carolina Panthers move closer to making the 24th selection. Their has been a fog surrounding the Panthers pick this season due to the new (old) GM Marty Hurney taking his place by the phone once again. The one thing for certain on Thursday night is that Hurney will need to draft an immediate starter in round 1. The following is my opinion on who that will likely be.
I am fairly confident one of the following players will be the selection.
UCF cornerback Mike Hughes would start opposite James Bradberry on day one, thus satisfying the main goal. Throw in the fact that the Carolina Panthers face some of the most lethal QB/WR combos in the league and this pick would make a whole lot of sense. Hughes fits the Carolina Panthers defensive scheme perfectly, namely able to cover and close quickly as a zone corner. Bonus: Hughes could also contribute as a return man. Sounds a little like Chris Gamble, one of Hurney’s solid draft choices. He may decide to drink from that well again.
What about wide receiver? Surely there is room on the Carolina Panthers roster for one. For sure, and as such I like Alabama’s Calvin Ridley for one big reason. Separation, separation, separation. Ridley gets open, something Panthers fans have longed to see in many a NFL season. Ridley is a pure receiver that is used to carrying a heavy load, something he will likely need to do sooner rather than later in Carolina. With Devin Funchess’ future not certain, the Panthers could quickly find themselves looking into a yawning chasm of receiving ineptitude. Ridley would be a nice bit of insurance and also start immediately. Win-Win.
So what if Hughes and Ridley are off the board? Well, the most obvious pick would be a guard to replace the recently departed Andrew Norwell. A guy like UTEP’s Will Hernandez would likely fit the bill. A mammoth of a man with a mean streak looking to punish anyone in his path. Again, a day 1 starter that would be a god send for last year’s top draft pick Christian McCaffrey. This would also allow second year man Tyler Moton to continue to develop at offensive tackle should he need to fill in this season.
So there you have it, my best guess at what the Carolina Panthers are thinking and the direction they will go.Agree? Disagree? You can sound off right here with thousands of Carolina Panthers fans.