Carolina Panthers Mock Draft Roundup

Charles Edwards@@CEdwards80Contributor IApril 28, 2014

Carolina Panthers Mock Draft Roundup

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    Mike McCarn

    The NFL draft is less than two weeks away, which means the end of 2014 mock drafts and endless debates about which players are better suited for each team and round.

    The Carolina Panthers have needs at wide receiver, offensive tackle and cornerback.  There may be a slight need to build up the interior of the offensive line, but for now the outside edge takes precedence.

    Over the last few months, several mock drafts for the Panthers have been made based on the opinions of Bleacher Report writers and NFL analysts alike.  This slideshow will feature a combination of all of those elements, complete with a projection by yours truly.

    Debates are sure to abound as not everyone will agree with the picks here.  Please feel free to submit your own mock draft in the comments section.


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    Gail Burton

    This is the list of NFL experts, analysts and writers whose input will be used to cover all seven rounds.  Additional feedback from Bleacher Report writers will be utilized for all seven rounds.  Some of the featured experts will only go as far as the first two rounds.

    Mel Kiper, Jr. (ESPN)

    Todd McShay (ESPN)

    Rob Rang (CBS Sports)

    Dane Brugler (

    Pete Prisco (CBS Sports)

    Pat Kirwan (CBS Sports)

    Will Brinson (CBS Sports)

    Matt Miller (Bleacher Report, NFL Draft Lead Writer)

    Knox Bardeen (Bleacher Report, NFC South Lead Writer)

    Charles Edwards (Bleacher Report, Featured Columnist)

Round 1

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    The most pressing need for the Carolina Panthers appears to be split between wide receiver and offensive tackle.  Depending on who you ask, it is a matter of opinion which position will be addressed first on May 8th.

    For the most part, the experts appear to be favoring an offensive tackle, but there have been those who have projected receivers and defensive backs to the Panthers on day one of the draft.


    Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia

    This young man seems to be picking up steam as the Panthers' first pick.  There are still those who question his value as a late first-rounder and if Dave Gettleman does not feel he is the right pick, he will have no problems looking in another direction.  Moses still has a lot of upside and could very well have a bright future in Carolina.  He was the reason why the Cavaliers enjoyed having a 1,000-yard rusher on the team for the first time since 2004 and he could bring that same kind of luxury to the NFL.  

    Who's Picking Him: Kiper, Rang, Prisco and Bardeen


    Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama

    Another top name among offensive tackles.  If it weren't for his history of knee injuries, Kouandjio would be a shoo-in as a top pick in this year's draft.  However, his "failing grade" by many NFL teams at this year's combine dropped his stock and he could go as late as a top second-round pick.  He is very aggressive and his quickness off the snap could benefit both the passing and running games.  Carolina took a gamble last year with a player whose medical history scared off teams.  It wouldn't be surprising to see a repeat in draft strategy.

    Who's Picking Him: Brugler and Edwards


    Marqise Lee, WR, Southern California

    The need to get Cam Newton a talented receiver with potential to be a number one target could trump finding someone to block his blind side.  Lee could be the best value if the likes of Brandin Cooks and Davante Adams are both off the board.  Lee has decent size and has the speed to be elusive as both a receiver and return man.  He does have a knack for running good routes and can change direction with ease.  

    Who's Picking Him: Kirwan


    Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina

    Ebron is regarded as the top tight end in this class and could very well be a top 10 pick.  While Carolina is set at the position with starter Greg Olsen and a group of backups behind him, drafting Ebron would give the Panthers a means to have an effective passing game, while keeping defenses honest.  The selection of Ebron could mean a lot of two tight end sets being used on the field, which will allow Mike Shula's unit to mix it up.  However, Ebron is too good to be on the board late in the draft.  Carolina would have to trade up to get him and with the needs at other positions, such a move is unlikely.

    Who's Picking Him: Brinson


    Joel Bitonio, OT/OG, Nevada

    The selection of Bitonio is a new idea that could suggest the Panthers will use veteran Byron Bell at left tackle and move Bitonio to the inside.  He is capable of playing both positions and it could be a matter of how the coaching staff wants to construct their offensive front.  A capable left tackle in college, Bitonio has a good combination of strength and quickness to protect a quarterback's blind side.  He proved he could take on top competition while in school as he matched up well against UCLA's Anthony Barr.

    Who's Picking Him: McShay


    Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

    Unlike Ebron, Lewan to Carolina could happen as a result of his off-field issues dropping his value, and not from the Panthers trading up.  His on-field talent is great and he could be a great blindside protector for Newton.  If he is available, don't expect the Panthers to immediately pounce on him.  Character flaws have bitten the franchise in the past and Gettleman will not want to repeat history.

    Who's Picking Him: Miller

Round 2

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    The logic for round two is that whatever need was not addressed in the opening round will be the pick in the second.  However, if the first-round pick is a defensive back or other position, it will be a toss-up when Carolina is back on the clock with the 60th pick.


    Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State

    A big receiver who can be an impact player, Benjamin brings a championship pedigree with him to the next level.  There is reason to believe he could still be around when the Panthers make their second pick as his value has dipped in recent weeks.  Benjamin's potential makes him very appealing at this point in the draft and would give Cam Newton a big target to throw to anywhere on the field.

    Who's Picking Him: Rang


    Phillip Gaines, CB, Rice

    A four-year starter at Rice, Gaines has the speed and size to be a dominant defensive back on the outside.  If he can improve on his coverage when it comes to backpedaling or taking angles, he should develop into a solid corner.  He has leadership potential as he was a team captain, but Gaines does have some minor character concerns as he was suspended for the opener of the 2013 season for violating team rules.  Regardless, he is a good selection if he presents better value to the Panthers.

    Who's Picking Him: Brugler


    Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State

    Excellent height and build complemented by decent speed and excellent leaping ability make Robinson an attractive second-round prospect.  He is a physical receiver who played against some good competition in the Big 10.  Presents some questions regarding his character, especially when it comes to his maturity.  The Panthers cannot afford to lose a player due to a lack of judgment.

    Who's Picking Him: Miller


    Paul Richardson, WR, Colorado

    Surprising speed for a receiver who missed the 2012 season with a torn ACL, Richardson can provide the deep threat the Carolina Panthers need to grow with Cam Newton.  Good vision and route-running make him an attractive second-round target with a lot of upside.  Richardson could thrive in Carolina's offense, especially if enough talent is around to take the focus off of him.

    Who's Picking Him: Bardeen


    Jordan Matthews, WR, Vanderbilt

    An exceptional receiver at Vanderbilt, Matthews turned in a good performance at the Senior Bowl after he helped propel the Commodores back into college football relevancy.  He has great speed, but needs to work on getting separation between himself and defenders.

    Who's Picking Him: Edwards

Round 3

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    The third round will most likely field a cornerback for the Carolina Panthers unless one is taken prior to the round starting.  Many believe the Panthers will have addressed their needs at wide receiver and offensive tackle by the time the third pick comes around.


    Keith McGill, CB, Utah

    He would be the ideal pick as his size and leaping ability can take away the outside receiver for opposing offenses.  He can be a valuable asset to the Panthers' defense and could shore up the one glaring weakness on the unit.  If the Carolina defense returns an effective blitz in 2014, expect McGill to take advantage of poorly thrown passes.

    Who's Picking Him: Miller


    Stanley Jean-Baptiste, CB, Nebraska

    Similar in size and speed to McGill, Jean-Baptiste rebounded from his combine workout to turn in a solid pro day.  Like McGill, he can take away the outside receiver, but he needs to be more physical and improve his body tackling.  Considering who is slated at cornerback for the Panthers right now, Jean-Baptiste offers an immediate upgrade.

    Who's Picking Him: Bardeen and Edwards

Round 4

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    Bruce Ellington, WR, South Carolina

    If Brandin Cooks does not land in Carolina, Ellington could be a consolation prize.  He has the same build as the Oregon State receiver, with impressive speed and leaping ability.  The young man is very athletic as he played point guard for the basketball team during his first two years in school.  He has NFL bloodlines as his cousin, Andre Ellington, plays for the Arizona Cardinals.

    Who's Picking Him: Miller


    Cameron Fleming, OT, Stanford

    Fleming would be an interesting choice for the fourth round.  If he is still around this late in the draft, the Panthers could pick him up to compete for a starting job or help add depth to the outside.  His experience at Stanford and playing within the Pac-12 allowed him to gain experience with many different offensive fronts and that could serve him well at the pro level.  

    Who's Picking Him: Bardeen


    David Yankey, OG, Stanford

    For whatever reason, Yankey is still all over the board.  Assuming he falls to the fourth round, adding an additional interior lineman to the offensive front will help tremendously.  He has the ability to play offensive guard well and the uncertainty at the position could prompt the Panthers to add him as an insurance policy.

    Who's Picking Him: Edwards


Round 5

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    Chris Watt, OG, Notre Dame

    The fifth round could serve as the part of the draft where Dave Gettleman begins adding depth to the roster.  Watt would offer size (6'3", 310 pounds) and present a wide obstacle for defensive lineman to get around.  However, he needs to be more aggressive in pass protection despite being physical in the trenches.

    Who's Picking Him: Miller


    Dontae Johnson, FS/CB, NC State

    Johnson is a big physical defensive back who can play the safety position.  His speed and vertical leap from the combine suggest he can be an effective member of an otherwise below-average secondary.  He should figure to play on the outside if selected by the Panthers in the fifth round.

    Who's Picking Him: Bardeen


    Brandon Coleman, WR, Rutgers

    Excellent size, leaping ability and good speed would make him the kind of target Cam Newton needs in red-zone situations.  Coleman will need to become more physical if he is to succeed as an NFL receiver.  Carolina should be continuously adding depth at either wide receiver or the offensive line on day three.

    Who's Picking Him: Edwards

Round 6

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    Shaquil Barrett, OLB, Colorado State

    There is a chance the Panthers will add depth to their stout linebacker unit.  Barrett has quality tangibles for a linebacker with his ability to track and adjust to the ball.  Some scouts feel he is undersized for the NFL, but he can change that with the right kind of conditioning.  It should be noted he recorded 12 sacks in 2013 and set a Mountain West record with 20.5 tackles for loss.

    Who's Picking Him: Miller


    Chris Watt, OG, Notre Dame

    Thinking along the lines of Matt Miller, but a round later, Knox Bardeen has Watt going to Carolina in the sixth round.  The only difference between the two rounds is that if Watt is taken here, it could be a steal.

    Who's Picking Him: Bardeen


    Justin Britt, OT, Missouri

    Overhauling the offensive line is something that will probably be done during this year's draft.  Carolina may favor younger personnel to compete for backup duties on the team.  Britt can play left tackle which would probably have him learning from Byron Bell if a rookie offensive tackle is playing on the right side.  This would be useful as it gives both the veteran and rookie alike incentive to play at a high level.

    Who's Picking Him: Edwards

Round 7

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    Jake Murphy, TE, Utah

    The good thing for Murphy is that he has experience playing in a pro-style offense.  Additionally, he can make the difficult catches and battle defenders to get them.  Murphy has drawn comparisons to Dennis Pitta and if teamed with Greg Olsen, could provide Cam Newton another viable target when there is nothing downfield.

    Who's Picking Him: Miller


    Michael Campanaro, WR, Wake Forest

    He may not have the kind of gear that has made Brandin Cooks a top prospect in the draft, but Campanaro has the talent to be a reliable receiver in certain situations.  His small size makes him ideal for the slot, but he could be effective on underneath routes.

    Who's Picking Him: Bardeen


    Jalen Saunders, WR, Oklahoma

    Another small receiver, Saunders has good speed (4.44 40-yard dash time) and can be an option on special teams as a return man.  The Panthers could still use some competition at the return specialist position for Kenjon Barner and Saunders seems to be the logical pick if available in the final round of the draft.

    Who's Picking Him: Edwards


    Player information courtesy of unless otherwise noted.  Links have been attached to the panelists regarding their individual selections.