Now that the first round of the 2013 NFL draft is over, it's time to look ahead to day two of the event.
The Panthers landed Star Lotulelei in the first round. The addition of Lotulelei should solidify Carolina's front seven, as the Utah product is stout against the run and can get after the opposing quarterback.
After day one, Carolina still has glaring needs at wide receiver, guard and in the secondary. Rookie GM David Gettleman deserves credit for a successful first round, but the draft's later days will be much tougher to navigate.
Due to a trade made by Marty Hurney during last year's draft, the Panthers will not have a third-round selection. Because of that, Gettleman will only have one opportunity to augment his roster on day two.
There will be plenty of valuable players up for grabs in the first half of the second round, which means Carolina should add another starter with its next pick.
The following players have the potential to improve the Panthers roster and should be targeted once the second round begins.
D.J. Swearinger was a four-year starter at South Carolina, which speaks to his combination of football smarts and athleticism. During his senior season, Swearinger served as a defensive captain and led the Gamecocks to an 11-win season.
On the field, Swearinger plays without abandon and is without a doubt one of the toughest players in this year's class. He displays a high motor and strikes fear into opposing wideouts over the middle.
Swearinger is extremely confident in his abilities at the next level, as he said the following to WashingtonTimes.com:
I’m the best safety in this draft because I’m a leader first and foremost. I have instincts that coaches can’t coach. You can’t coach instincts. I have great ball skills, great feet and hips. I’m going to stay in that film room and be a hard worker day in an day out.
Confidence will be key as Swearinger tries to transition to play at the next level. There will certainly be growing pains, but the South Carolina alumnus has the physical tools to be successful in the NFL.
With Charles Godfrey penciled in at strong safety, Swearinger would supplant Haruki Nakamura at free safety which is a must.
Boise State has been the dark horse of the college football world for about a decade now. Part of their success can be attributed to the program's ability to develop defensive backs, as they have seen six of their secondary members get drafted in the last eight years.
The Carolina Panthers were forced to cut Chris Gamble due to financial reasons and will miss him once next season rolls around. While the organization did their best to augment the position with cheap free agents, that isn't likely to be enough on a consistent basis.
Jamar Taylor fell out of the first round but projects to be a solid cornerback at the next level. Taylor is a physical corner who attempts to redirect wide receivers at the line of scrimmage and is a willing tackler in run support.
If the Panthers were to draft Taylor, they would likely play him against the opposition's slot receivers in 2013.
Larry Warford has the size to be an All-Pro guard, as the Kentucky product is 6'3" and 332 pounds. During his time playing collegiate ball, Warford proved to be a drive-blocker who had the quickness to make blocks down the field.
While at Kentucky, Warford was selected to the All-SEC second team three times. Considering the talent that exists in the SEC, being tabbed as one of the best offensive lineman in the conference three times is impressive.
That's the type of energy and commitment the Carolina Panthers could use along the offensive line. In fact, if Warford were to find himself in Raleigh, he could easily be the team's starting right guard when the new season kicks off.
Carolina's rushing attack took a step back in 2012 after dominating in 2011, with the play of the offensive line being a big reason for the decline.
Sure, Warford still has to be developed, but that's the case with the majority of collegiate offensive linemen.
The Panthers have a need at right guard, where Geoff Hangartner is scheduled to begin the season.
West Virginia product Stedman Bailey would instantly improve Carolina's passing attack.
Last season as a member of the Mountaineers, Bailey hauled in 114 receptions for 1,622 yards and 25 touchdowns.
While Bailey put up those monster numbers in a pass-happy offense, he displayed the ability to be a game changer. The Panthers desperately need a home run threat, which makes Bailey a perfect fit.
Bailey projects to be a slot receiver at the next level, as his quickness allows him to create space in the secondary.
Cam Newton is set to enter his third season under center, and the Panthers front office must supply him with more dynamic offensive weapons.
The addition of Bailey would take pressure off Steve Smith, which would in turn allow the veteran receiver to finish his career in a productive manner.
The Carolina Panthers still need to address their secondary, although they will have just one pick on day two to do so.
As of now, Josh Norman and Captain Munnerlyn are slated to start the season at corner for Ron Rivera's squad. No one feels comfortable with that combination starting in the NFC South, as that duo would be tested on a weekly basis.
The Panthers front office must address the position or suffer the consequences later.
Blidi Wreh-Wilson has a long frame that lends itself well to a starting cornerback on the outside. At 6'1", Wreh-Wilson has the size to compete with the taller receivers that are dominating in the NFL.
After performing relatively well at the NFL Scouting Combine, Wreh-Wilson ran the 40 in 4.40 and 4.39 seconds at his pro day. After multiple scouts questioned his speed in the evaluation process, Wreh-Wilson proved that he has the speed to survive at the next level.