2008 NFL Draft: Carolina Panthers - Part II

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2008 NFL Draft: Carolina Panthers - Part II

To see the Panthers' selections from the first three rounds please see 2008 NFL Draft: Carolina Panthers.

Carolina had no fourth round picks, which is at least partly due to the trade for Otah (part of the deal for him was a fourth round pick for this year).

Fifth round, No. 141 overall (acquired from Jets in Kris Jenkins trade):

Gary Barnidge / TE / Louisville 

At 6'5" and 243 pounds, he’s a little small compared to the rest of the division (the Saints, Falcons, and Bucs have at least one TE that is 6'4" and weighs 260 pounds).

In college he caught 108 passes, 17 for touchdowns, and averaged nearly fourteen yards per catch. He has decent speed, running a 4.65 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine.

Barnidge was named to the All-Big East first team in his senior season. If he adds some muscle, he could compete for a starting job, especially considering the Panthers' paltry number of tight ends. 

Sixth round, No. 181 overall

Nick Hayden / DT / Wisconsin

Hayden's greatest attribute is his brute strength, he was one of the Big Ten's strongest players last year. He bench pressed 34 reps (weight not given) at the NFL Combine (according to NFL.com), the third best total for a defensive lineman. 

In 39 starts for Wisconsin, Hayden totaled 132 tackles, 70 unassisted, and registered ten sacks.

While Hayden may have been drafted as a future replacement for Ma'ake Kemoeatu (which may be needed sooner than later) as a run stuffer along the center of the defensive line, he could also help on special teams as he showed when he blocked two kicks in college.

Seventh round, No. 221 overall

Hilee Taylor / LB / UNC 

Taylor is making the transition from being a defensive end in college to a linebacker in the pros, likely because of his size (6'3", 242 pounds). But Taylor still has credentials at DE. 

He still played exceptionally well in college, even though he played in the ACC, a notoriously weak football conference.

He was one of the best in the Atlantic Coast Conference, as he was voted to the All-ACC second team in 2007, during which he recorded 59 tackles, 16 for loss, 10.5 sacks, and three forced fumbles.

It will take time for Taylor to make the switch from DE to LB. For that reason, and because of the fact that the Panthers are loaded with quality linebackers, he will likely start out on the practice squad or deep down on the depth chart.

Seventh round, No. 241 overall (compensatory selection)

Geoff Schwartz / RT / Oregon

Schwartz stands 6'6" and weighs 331 pounds, yet another massive body on the offensive line.

The Ducks frequently rushed to his side of the line last year, and had much success at that—they improved their rushing average from 134.3 YPG to 182.2 YPC in 2006 with him blocking—and that was when he was hindered by back injuries. 

Injury free Schwartz helped Oregon improve its rushing average to 251.7 yards per game. This improved rushing attack was the best in the PAC-10 and sixth best in the nation.

Schwartz should have a strong base—he could squat 505 pounds in college—upon which to work in the NFL. Once he learns good footwork, he could be a force to reckon with if a starter goes down with an injury.

But Schwartz's strengths go beyond blocking for the runner to protecting the quarterback (which was often Jonathan Stewart).

In his senior campaign, he knocked opponents down a personal record ninety-seven times and did an overall excellent job in leading the Ducks to the tenth best offense in yards per game last year—they gained 467.5 yards per game—and the twelfth best scoring offense in the country which scored 38 PPG last season.

He is also durable, starting thirty-five games in a row. Wow...I didn't realize how good this guy could be considering he was a late seventh round pick until I finished writing this profile of him.

Seventh round, No. 250 overall (compensatory selection)

Mackenzy Bernadeau / OG / Bentley

Part of the way through college, Bernadeau switched from left tackle to left guard because he was having trouble keeping speedier defensive ends in front of him. Needless to say, the change worked well.

His blocking consistency percentage went from 75 to 85 percent.

In his senior year, the AFCA (American Football Coaches Association) named him to the All-American team.

In thirty-four career games, Bernadeau recorded 240 knockdowns, and twenty-six of his blocks resulted in touchdowns. Bernadeau may make the practice squad.

While Gary Barnidge has a somewhat small and light frame—not a great combination in the NFL—he has some speed and was on his conference's (Big East) first team. However, most receiving strengths he has will likely be put to waste in Davidson's offensive scheme, which rarely uses the TE beyond blocking in the running game.  

I see Nick Hayden being useful in the near future because the Panthers hopefully won't hold onto that massive couch potato-turned-pathetic, fat football player named Ma'ake Kemoeatu who can't play for his life.  Hayden will also be a big help on special teams at pressuring the kicker or punter.

Schwartz's spot on the depth chart, despite his ostensible talent, is questionable because the team signed two free agent defensive tackles in the offseason, Ian Scott and Darwin Walker.

Walker seems likely to start alongside Kemo or Damione Lewis.

But at least if multiple guys go down with injuries, Carolina knows it has quality players far down on the depth chart.

Mackenzy Bernadeau will likely start his career on the practice squad and make his way onto the depth chart as a third-teamer after a few years of development.

Official Grade: B-

 

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