Carolina Panthers 2014 Mock Draft with Player Scouting Profiles
The Carolina Panthers made great strides in 2013 and will look to further improve their roster in April's upcoming draft.
There are a only a couple of positions that really need work—cornerback and wide receiver. It would be wise of the Panthers to nab a reliable receiving threat in the first round, and one player who fits the bill is Kelvin Benjamin.
He has a large, strong frame but has pretty nimble feet and explosive speed. They'll have some other options, but he will most likely be the one due to their current slot at pick 28.
Carolina will also have its pick of a nice crop of cornerbacks that could help out some way, but the Panthers may turn to a small-school guy instead of a bigger Division I player.
Either way, the Panthers will look to capitalize on the opportunities they'll be given in the draft in order to better themselves as a team and make an even bigger dent in the NFL next season.
Round 1: Kelvin Benjamin, WR
The Carolina Panthers need some size and athleticism in their receiving corps, and that’s what Kelvin Benjamin brings and more.
He’s an explosive wideout with great vertical speed and is a solid route-runner, although there is room for improvement.
He was a monster in the red zone during his college years and would make for a nice complement to Steve Smith. He would also be a great option as a successor to Smith; he has the ability to develop into a great No. 1 receiver.
Round 2: Pierre Desir, CB
Pierre Desir made his stake as an early-round draft pick with his performance at the Senior Bowl. Desir had 25 interceptions at Division II Lindenwood and showed a wide range of ability in coverage, while also doing well in run support.
He is a bit bigger for a corner at 6’1”, 195 pounds and uses that size well in coverage. Desir is able to bully smaller receivers but can also hang with the bigger receivers.
He would be a nice option as a No. 2 or 3 corner for Carolina. His physicality would fit into its system well.
Round 3: Corey Robinson, OT
At 6’8”, 341 pounds, Corey Robinson is a certified massive man with even bigger potential. He was a solid pass protector in college but did falter at times.
His footwork and athleticism is quite impressive for a man of his stature, and it’s clear he can develop into a solid tackle in the NFL. Robinson may be able to snag a starting spot across from Jordan Gross (assuming Carolina can re-sign him) and contribute right away.
With his size, it wouldn’t take much to turn him into an impenetrable wall of a tackle that consistently seals off the right side of the Panthers’ line.
Round 4: Brandin Cooks, WR
The Panthers will likely address their need for a big-bodied playmaker in the first round but could surely use some talent down the depth chart. Brandin Cooks is small in stature but is a big play waiting to happen.
He might turn out to be the biggest home-run threat in this draft class. He has the ability to contribute right away. He probably fits best as a slot receiver but could also play a role in special teams.
His size and speed would surely make him a dangerous return man, similar to Tavon Austin and Dexter McCluster.
To put it simply, Cooks is a day-one slot receiver at worst. He’s worth a look in the middle rounds. He could pay dividends sooner than later.
Round 5: Andrew Norwell, OL
Andrew Norwell was a very solid tackle for the Ohio State Buckeyes and performed well in both pass protection and run blocking.
Norwell has the ideal size for an offensive lineman and uses that to his advantage against smaller pass-rushers.
His greatest attribute is that he can play either guard or tackle—both are positions of need for the Panthers. Regardless of whether or not they can get a tackle in the earlier rounds or not, Norwell would be a great addition to play either position.
Round 6: Vinnie Sunseri, S
The former Alabama Crimson Tide safety is one of the most promising prospects in this draft.
If it weren’t for an unfortunate injury early on in the 2013 season, Sunseri would likely be much higher up draft boards. He’s pretty competent in coverage but truly shines in run support; there are times when he looks like a linebacker with the way he hits the hole and stuffs runners.
Sunseri’s ability to play in the box and in coverage would make him a valuable asset to Sean McDermott’s defense as a rotational guy who can play a few different positions on the field.
Round 7: Colt Lyerla, TE
Despite his off-field issues, Colt Lyerla is still a very gifted athlete and might be worth a shot late in the draft.
While Carolina is already set at the tight end position with Greg Olsen, Lyerla would add another big-framed, yet deceivingly athletic receiving threat for Cam Newton. Lyerla can also contribute as a solid blocker on run or pass plays.
If Riverboat Ron is feelin’ lucky, he may take a chance on Lyerla and give the troubled tight end an opportunity to prove his worth.