Panthers 2013 Mock Draft: Predictions for Day 3
Day two of the 2013 NFL Draft was over quickly as teams wasted no time making their picks in rounds two and three. The Carolina Panthers' second selection, second-round choice of Kawann Short, was their only pick Friday.
While their first two choices have netted quality defensive tackles, there is a lot of work to do. Carolina only has three more choices remaining and they have to make sure they are in sync with their first two picks - capable of making an immediate impact and possessing good value.
The Panthers should still be looking at upgrading their secondary and their offensive line. It remains to be seen whether or not they entertain drafting a wide receiver as they are pretty deep at the position already. Chances are the only way that happens is if a receiver happens to be the best player available.
As the NFL enters the weekend and final day of this year's draft, here is a final mock that predicts the Panthers last three picks before focusing on rookie mini camp and eventually training camp later this summer.
The Draft so Far
Carolina knew who they wanted and immediately pulled the trigger on two defensive tackles in Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short. There has been a mixture of praise and backlash from the fans over the second pick as some felt a defensive back should have been the pick in round two.
Clearly, the Panthers felt differently and bulked up their defensive line making it arguably one of the most-talented young defensive fronts in the league. It may take a season to prove the worthiness of Carolina's selection of Short but as of now, it is looking like a very good move.
The Panthers still have needs at other positions but could utilize the best player available approach the rest of the way. Their secondary could use some help—as does their offensive line.
4th Round, 108th Overall Selection: Shamarko Thomas, SS/Syracuse
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It was a toss-up between Thomas and Georgia's Bacarri Rambo, but in the end the young man from Syracuse seems to be the better fit. He will need to slide down the board ten spots if the Panthers are able to have a shot at him but it's a possibility.
Thomas lacks size for a safety but he is a physical player and has the ability to play like a linebacker. Anyone who follows Carolina closely will automatically draw comparisons of Shamarko Thomas to Thomas Davis; the latter began his career as a defensive back before switching to outside linebacker.
Carolina needs to make the most out this year's draft and if they can get a player like Thomas to patrol the back end of the field, their first three selections will turn around the defense's fortune.
5th Round, 148th Overall Selection: Xavier Nixon, OT/Florida
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The Panthers don't want to leave New York without adding some extra depth to their offensive line. With Byron Bell disappointing last season, Carolina will want to give him some competition in training camp. They should be able to find who they are looking for in the fifth round by drafting Xavier Nixon.
Nixon is a big tackle: He stands at 6'6" and weighs in at 321 lbs. He has the size to hold up rushers on the outside as he has the athleticism to provide quality pass protection. That kind of ability is needed with Cam Newton under center.
If he can assert himself and keep from being knocked around at the line, he should be a quality starter in the league. However, he can do no worse than Bell and expectations won't be nearly as high on him as they were on Amini Silatolu who was taken in the second round of last year's draft.
6th Round, 182nd Overall Selection: Chris Gragg, TE/Arkansas
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Chris Gragg was mentioned in the previous mock and that doesn't change here. Carolina won't bring in a receiver but their interest in pairing Greg Olsen with another pass-catching tight end should have them targeting Gragg as their final pick.
He has wide receiver ability but tight end speed. He has been working on his route running and that could pay dividends for him at the pro level. He isn't afraid of going over the middle and could be a decent check down option if Greg Olsen isn't available.
He won't be the best blocker on the line but if he is picked up by the Panthers, he won't have to worry too much about holding his blocks as he will be counted on to catch passes from Newton.