Now that the scouting combine has concluded, it's time to roll out another mock draft. The landscape of the 2013 NFL draft has changed, even if the actual event is still two months away.
The Carolina Panthers have the same needs they had prior to the combine, but hopefully Dave Gettleman will be leaving Indianapolis with a better understanding of this year's prospects. This will be a very important draft for the Panthers, as a postseason berth appears to be within sight.
Say what you want about Marty Hurney, but the Panthers had a couple of excellent drafts in the final two drafts of his tenure. The Panthers nabbed Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly with their last two first-round picks. Find a franchise that can top that recent track record.
Predicting how the stocks of this year's prospects are going to fare moving forward is very difficult, as a middle-round prospect could make a jump into the second round if a situation calls for it.
Without further adieu, my latest Panthers mock draft.
Sheldon Richardson declared for this year's NFL draft after his junior season at Missouri, one in which he compiled four sacks and 75 tackles at defensive tackle.
At 6'2" and 290 pounds, Richardson is a bit undersized to play defensive tackle in the NFL. He makes up for his size with quickness, as he has the potential to be very disruptive at the next level.
This year's defensive tackle class is extremely deep, with a few studs highlighting the class. Utah product Star Lotulelei was expected to be the first interior defensive lineman off the board, but that's now in question due to a heart condition that was discovered at the combine.
Sharrif Floyd, who played along the entire defensive line while at Florida, has seen his stock rise since the season wrapped up. Few players in this year's draft finished the season playing better than Floyd, as he sacked Louisville's Teddy Bridgewater twice in the Sugar Bowl.
Depending on what else is discovered in regards to Lotulelei's heart condition, I expect both him and Floyd to be off the board already when the Panthers are put on the clock at No. 14 overall.
Honestly, Panthers fans should not be upset about that, as Richardson is more than a good consolation prize.
In my opinion, addressing the defensive tackle position should be Gettleman's first priority on draft day, especially if Dwan Edwards walks in free agency.
If he reaches his ceiling, Richardson will make everyone around him better.
Hopefully the Mizzou product will trade his Tigers gear in for Panthers garb, as he might be the player to solidify the defense.
Overlook Desmond Trufant at your own risk, as the Washington Huskies product may wind up being the best cornerback in this year's class.
As I've wrote on multiple occasions, Trufant is a player rookie GM David Gettleman should study closely.
While Dee Milliner and Xavier Rhodes may come off the board before Trufant, being drafted highly doesn't guarantee a successful career.
Football is in Trufant's blood, with two of his brothers already playing cornerback in the NFL. When watching him play, it becomes clear that he moves fluidly and understands how to maintain good position in man-coverage.
Hoping for Trufant to fall into the middle of the second round may be a bit too optimistic, as he improved his stock at the Senior Bowl. It wouldn't surprise me one bit if Trufant comes off the board in the first round.
With explosive passing attacks dominating the NFL, the demand for good cover corners has never been higher. Looking at the Panthers situation specifically, they need to be able to slow down the likes of Drew Brees and Matt Ryan, as the NFC is loaded with dynamic quarterbacks.
After spending four years at Washington, Trufant has about as much experience at the position as any other cornerback in this class.
With Steve Smith set to enter his 13th season as a member of the Carolina Panthers, the front office must make addressing the wide receiver position a priority.
Brandon LaFell turned in a few good games in 2012, but he's far too inconsistent to be considered anything more than a No. 2 option. Behind LaFell, the team lacks another viable option at wide receiver.
It's up to David Gettleman and company to equip franchise quarterback Cam Newton with the weapons to be successful.
Cordarrelle Patterson, who played just one season of college football at Tennessee, may be in play for the Panthers' first-round pick.
If Patterson is off the board at No. 14, Carolina's front office should draft a receiver in the later rounds. Reaching for Keenan Allen would be a mistake in my opinion, as they could find better value by selecting a better overall player.
This year's class has numerous wide receivers that have the potential to carve out a nice career in the NFL, with DeAndre Hopkins being among them.
Hopkins was one of college football's most dynamic wideouts last season, as he hauled in 82 passes for 1,405 yards and 18 touchdowns during his final season at Clemson.
Whether or not Hopkins is available in the fourth round is up to debate, but he would look excellent in a Panthers uniform.
Bacarri Rambo was a two-year starter for the Georgia Bulldogs and was one of college football's best safeties last season. During his time in the SEC, Rambo proved to be capable and durable, both of which are musts at the NFL level.
At 6' and 215 pounds, Rambo has the size to play in the NFL, even if his skills need a little tuning. In the right system, Rambo could start from day one, albeit with some growing pains.
Based upon past form, Rambo has a real chance to have one of the better NFL careers among this year's safety class. Kenny Vaccaro out of Texas looks like a can't-miss prospect at safety, but outside of him, Rambo could emerge as the second-best safety in the draft.
Rambo may drop to the Panthers for a couple reasons. First, he broke team rules prior to his junior season and was suspended for the Bulldogs opener against Boise State. Second, Rambo missed the first four games of the 2012 season after failing a drug test.
While talent can overcame a checkered past in the NFL, Rambo doesn't have the transcendent talent to completely make up for his past transgressions.
I know what you're thinking, the Carolina Panthers should have addressed the offensive line earlier in the draft. The front office may not wait this long to address their offensive front, as protecting Cam Newton should be a priority.
If the Panthers were able to find a capable right tackle in either free agency or the draft, they would be able to shift Byron Bell to right guard. A move like that could really improve the offensive line, which would make the entire offensive unit more effective.
At 6'8" and 315 pounds, there should be no questions about Reid Fragel's size at the next level. In Urban Meyer's first season at Ohio State, Fragel won the right tackle job and started every game for the Buckeyes.
Due to his size and athleticism, Fragel has the potential to be dominant in the NFL. However, he will need to end up in the right situation with the right coaches, as he is still inexperienced.
Jordan Gross should be the Carolina Panthers' starting left tackle next season, but Fragel could compete with Bell for the right tackle position.