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Carolina Panthers 2013 Draft Updates: Latest News, Trade Rumors & Predictions

Knox BardeenNFC South Lead WriterApril 8, 2013

Carolina Panthers 2013 Draft Updates: Latest News, Trade Rumors & Predictions

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    The cash-strapped Carolina Panthers haven’t been huge players in free agency, but they hope to make a huge splash in the 2013 NFL draft. If recent history is any indication, they’ll do just that.

    In 2011, with the first pick in the draft, Carolina picked quarterback Cam Newton, who went on to become the Offensive Rookie of the Year and set numerous rookie passing records.

    The Panthers went with a defensive pick in the first round in 2012 and landed the Defensive Rookie of the Year in linebacker Luke Kuechly.

    New general manager Dave Gettleman has huge draft-day shoes to fill as he prepares for his first draft as the brains behind all of the Carolina Panthers' moves.

Latest News, Rumors and Reports

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    April 14: Nevada safety Duke Williams has had a private workout with the Panthers, according to Scout.com.

    April 11: Oklahoma offensive tackle Lane Johnson visited the Carolina Panthers, according to Scout.com.

    April 10: According to a tweet from Kenny Vaccaro himself, the Texas safety is on his way to visit the Carolina Panthers.

    April 8: According to the Baltimore Sun, Clemson wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins will visit the Panthers on Monday.

    April 8: Notre Dame safety Zeke Motta visited the Panthers on April 5, according to Aaron Wilson of Scout.com.

    April 4: ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper believes that defensive tackle is “a pressing need” for the Panthers, according to the Charlotte Observer.

Latest Trade Rumors

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    Coming soon with all the breaking news about Panthers trades.

Can the Panthers Strike 1st-Round Gold Again?

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    The Carolina Panthers used their first-round pick in 2011—the first overall pick in the draft—on quarterback Cam Newton, who went on to amaze the NFL world.

    Newton threw for 4,051 yards, connected on 21 touchdown passes and ran for 14 more. He started his career by becoming the first NFL rookie passer to throw for 400 yards or more in his first two games. He went on to run for more yards than any first-year quarterback and throw for more yards, too.

    To the liking of every Panthers fan and making the team’s brass extremely happy, Newton etched his name in the NFL record book multiple times during his rookie season and is still growing as an NFL quarterback.

    The Panthers showed that it wasn’t impossible to follow up their great 2011 pick by landing linebacker Luke Kuechly the very next year.

    Kuechly played in every game during his rookie season and compiled 165 tackles, a sack and two interceptions. His play was so fantastic that Jon Beason has agreed to move to outside linebacker so the youngster can continue to roam the middle of Carolina’s linebacker corps.

    Both Newton and Kuechly won Rookie of the Year honors.

    New general manager Dave Gettleman will be looked at to repeat the success of Carolina’s last two drafts in his first year at the helm.

Where Will the Panthers Look with Their 1st-Round Pick?

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    The Carolina Panthers have a number of holes to fill on both sides of the football. Their most pressing need on each side is at defensive tackle and wide receiver.

    When the Panthers signed wide receiver Domenik Hixon on April 3, they might have shown their hand for the upcoming draft. There is still a need for a top-notch wideout opposite of Steve Smith, but now that the Panthers have Hixon and Brandon LaFell, the team may focus on the defensive tackle position.

    Dwan Edwards re-signed with the Panthers and will start at left tackle, but an upgrade could be found in Sione Fua at right tackle. Missouri’s Sheldon Richardson is often found linked to the Panthers at their pick at No. 14, as is defensive tackle Star Lotulelei from Utah.

    Both Richardson and Lotulelei would be upgrades and help slow down opposing rushing attacks before they get to Carolina’s second defensive wave.

Who Makes Sense for Carolina at WR Later in Draft?

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    If the Carolina Panthers go with a defensive tackle or even an offensive guard with their first-round pick, could the team still find a No. 2 receiver later in the draft?

    The Panthers have the 44th overall pick and there could be some options available.

    Marshall wide receiver Aaron Dobson made a name for himself with highlight reel catches and also showed off a pair of sound hands last season. According to STATS general manager John Pollard, Dobson was targeted 92 times last season and recorded zero drops.

    Dobson should be available when the Panthers pick in the second round.

    There is a chance Tennessee wide receiver Justin Hunter will be available at Carolina’s draft slot in the second round. The team could consider this move, too.

    Hunter returned to the Volunteers last season after an ACL injury sidelined him the year prior. He caught 73 passes for 1,083 yards, hauled in nine touchdown passes and got better as the year progressed and more comfortable with his knee.

    At 6’4”, Hunter has exceptional height for a receiver and has experience at the X, Y and Z receiver slots. He could make a great one-two combo for Smith.

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