Assigning Odds to Every Potential Carolina Panthers 1st-Round Pick
There are several draft-class prospects who would figure to be the Carolina Panthers' first-round draft pick. Depending on who you ask, the Panthers will either draft a wide receiver or an offensive tackle with the 28th overall pick. Nobody is really wrong because both positions are very weak and could use a boost from the 2014 draft class.
At the beginning of the month, it was touched upon regarding why Carolina's first pick would be an offensive tackle. That is a very real possibility, but so is the fact the team could pursue a wide receiver to be the other face of the offense alongside Cam Newton.
Of course, there is the possibility of the curveball.
During the 2012 draft, the general consensus was the Panthers would draft a defensive tackle. Instead, Marty Hurney opted for a different tactic and went with the best player available. That selection turned out to be Luke Kuechly.
The following slideshow will determine the odds each prospect has to be drafted by Carolina. The odds will be based on their scouting profiles and if they are projected to the Panthers in current and past mock drafts.
There is the chance that Dave Gettleman takes a gamble and trades up to grab a marquee player. Carolina's trade history on draft day hasn't been favorable, and considering the team's draft position, it is unlikely such course of action is taken.
If that is the case, the possible players the team could pursue are Mike Evans, Taylor Lewan, Justin Gilbert or Eric Ebron.
Carolina should be content with standing pat and letting the draft unfold until it's on the clock. There is a chance that if the Panthers are serious about Brandin Cooks and another team is showing an equal amount of interest that is ahead of them, Gettleman could pull the trigger on a trade that will allow the team to move up a few more positions.
However, a trade scenario in the first round is very unlikely.
Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State
Davante Adams could be the first choice of the Carolina Panthers if the team is looking at taking a wide receiver first and if Cooks is no longer available. Adams has more size than Cooks, but he is a bit slower than the Oregon State product. Regardless, Adams has a lot of playmaking potential.
Last year at Fresno State, Adams caught 131 passes for 1,719 yards and 24 touchdowns. He has a nose for the ball and the end zone. His leaping ability will give him an advantage in jump-ball situations and could be an ideal target for Cam Newton.
Even if Cooks is still on the board, the Panthers may like the tools Adams brings to the table and go with him over the smaller receiver.
Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama
The Carolina Panthers desperately need an offensive tackle as much as it needs a wide receiver. It would seem almost a lock that a player from this position would be the team's first pick. The current favorite is Cyrus Kouandjio.
He may have a bad history of knee injuries, but when he is healthy, he is a good as anyone. Considered to be the fourth-best prospect at his position by CBSSports.com, it would be a logical move for Carolina to pick him up if he's there. Someone needs to protect Cam Newton's blind side for the long haul.
There is the other side of the coin to take into account.
The Panthers know all too well the risks of taking a lineman with knee problems can entail. That can be said about such linemen who are first-round talents. Kouandjio will need to prove he is capable of maintaining the proper physique and conditioning each season. If he is not serious about keeping in shape, the knee injury will no doubt raise its ugly head.
Fortunately, that shouldn't be an issue as Kouandjio has reportedly been measured as having 16 percent body fat, per his CBSSports.com scouting profile.
Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU
Who you are and how you value Jarvis Landry will determine which round is appropriate for him to be drafted. CBSSports.com has him listed as the 18th-best wide receiver in the class; that is good enough to be considered a third- or fourth-round selection. However, Charles Davis of NFL.com has Landry as the Panthers' first draft pick.
Landry has potential, but his combine numbers pale in comparison to Davante Adams. He has good height and a great build to fight through defenders. Landry put up slightly better numbers in his last year at LSU than teammate (and first-round projection) Odell Beckham Jr. He reeled in 77 passes for 1,193 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Landry figures to be an ideal pick for the Panthers in the second or possibly third round, but with the level of talent that could be potentially left on the board, it's unlikely he is a first-round selection.
Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State
If the Carolina Panthers decide to go with a wide receiver in the draft's opening round and Brandin Cooks is still available, it is almost a no-brainer he will be selected with the 28th pick. Cooks has been showing up in mock drafts everywhere, and despite his draft stock rising since the combine, he is still predicted to be somewhere late in the first round.
His skill set is similar to recently departed fan favorite Steve Smith. If Cooks brings half the intensity and passion for the game as Smith did, the sky is the limit for him.
As for his production, Cooks falls behind Adams, as he had 128 receptions for 1,730 yards and 16 touchdowns. An argument could be made for the level of competition each faced, but regardless, the numbers are still impressive.
Cooks should figure to be as much as a possibility of being drafted by Carolina as Kouandjio. Ultimately, it will come down to which position and need the Panthers value most.
Odell Beckham, Jr, WR, LSU
Based on his NFL.com grade of 6.16, Odell Beckham Jr projects to be a valuable receiver to the team who drafts him. He is slightly bigger than Cooks, but despite measuring in at 5'11", Beckham made up for his lack of height by becoming a top performer in the 20- and 60-yard shuttle runs. His 40-yard dash time wasn't good enough to be a top performer, but it was still an impressive 4.43.
Both he and teammate Jarvis Landry did a private workout for Carolina, so the interest is there. Beckham can be the speedster the Panthers need if Cooks is not available.
What makes him even more appealing is his ability to field punts. However, he needs to improve a little in that area as he has been inconsistent at times. Beckham has improved as a receiver, but he has a tendency to drop passes.
Carolina will be looking for a sure-handed receiver from this draft, and given Newton's tendencies to overthrow his receivers, a good vertical leap (Beckham recorded his at 38.5") would be a nice bonus.
According to his CBSSports.com scouting profile, Beckham is projected to be the Panthers' first pick of this year's draft.
Other Notable Prospects
These are the prospects who have been mentioned as potential first-round picks to the Panthers earlier in the offseason. While talk and speculation has cooled about them going to Carolina, the potential is still there.
Morgan Moses, OT, UVA—Another possibility if Cyrus Kouandjio is taken before the Carolina Panthers are on the board. Moses is talented, but his value suggests an early second-round pick and if that is the case, the Panthers may look at another position. Odds: 10-1
Kelvin Benjamin, WR, FSU—Size, good speed and playmaking ability are all traits that will make Benjamin a viable option if the Carolina front office is unable to draft Cooks, Beckham or Kouandjio. He was an early offseason favorite among the fanbase, and it's unlikely they would be disappointed if he were the pick at 28. Odds: 8-1
Jason Verrett, CB, TCU—Carolina does need a cornerback, but based on what has transpired since the 2013 season ended, it's a fair assumption the first pick for the Panthers will play offense.
Regardless, Verrett could be that unexpected pick (like Kuechly in 2012) whom Carolina feels is the best player on the board and focus on its needs at wide receiver and offensive tackle in the next two rounds. Odds: 15-1
Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech—Eric Ebron will be gone before the Panthers are on the clock, but there will still be a good receiving tight end in Amaro. Carolina doesn't need a tight end, but coach Ron Rivera has stated the team may not need a true No. 1 receiver and will be looking to replace receptions.
If the team feels Amaro offers the better chance to meet or exceed that production, it wouldn't be surprising to see him join forces with Greg Olsen on offense. Odds: 20-1