NFL Mock Draft 2011 Black Cat Edition: Will Carolina Panthers Draft for Speed

Mack BonnerCorrespondent IMarch 25, 2011

NFL Mock Draft 2011 Black Cat Edition: Will Carolina Panthers Draft for Speed

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    INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 1: Defensive back Patrick Peterson #37 of LSU runs the 40-yard dash during the 2011 NFL Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on February 28, 2011 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
    Joe Robbins/Getty Images

    I thought I would do a little wading into enemy waters and test my prowess on the Carolina Panthers draft. Their first pick is a very intriguing one this year as they look to improve on a 2-14 record. Most seem to think that the pick will be used on a quarterback to mold for the future of the franchise. Some want to stick with Jimmy Clausen for another year and improve on the offensive line and wide receivers. Some think the picks would be better used on defense. 

    One thing is for sure, no one really knows who they will end up spending that first overall pick on or even if it will be traded away for more picks. I just hope that Carolina fans realize that it may be another two or three years before they are competitive in the NFC South again. For that reason, I think the picks will be better used with the concept of building for the future. 

    I've done my best at determining where the biggest needs are and choosing guys that will help improve those areas. I hope to give you some picks that you can agree with or at least some worth thinking about. Hope you enjoy.

1. Blaine Gabbert QB Missouri 6'4" 234

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    TEMPE, AZ - DECEMBER 28:  Quarterback Blaine Gabbert #11 of the Missouri Tigers drops back to pass during the Insight Bowl against the Iowa Hawkeyes  at Sun Devil Stadium on December 28, 2010 in Tempe, Arizona.  The Hawkeyes defeated the Tigers 27-24.  (P
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    With 66% of fans voting on the quarterback position as the biggest area of need on their own website, it's hard to go against the grain here. It's also clear that no one has faith in Jimmy Clausen to get it done. 

    There's no doubt that Gabbert is not a sure thing, but what player really is? I don't see tons of upside here but he's definitely an upgrade over their current situation. Clausen was a second round selection for good reason and probably shouldn't have been drafted that high. 

    To compete in the tough NFC South, a top-notch quarterback is a must. I think that Gabbert is also good enough that the wide receivers and offensive line suddenly begin to look a little better.

3. Clint Boling G Georgia 6'5" 310

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    ATHENS, GA - NOVEMBER 21:  Clint Boling #60 of the Georgia Bulldogs against the Kentucky Wildcats at Sanford Stadium on November 21, 2009 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    Although I blame most of the offensive line struggles on Jimmy Clausen holding onto the ball too long, they could use help in the middle. Boling is ranked number five on most interior lineman rankings. The Panthers could find some help for a struggling offensive line here. If he's gone, look for them to consider the 6'3" 309-pound Will Rackley of Lehigh.

4. Rashad Carmichael CB Virginia Tech 5'10" 192

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    BLACKSBURG, VA - SEPTEMBER 18: Cornerback Rashad Carmichael #21 stands on the field against the East Carolina Pirates at Lane Stadium on September 18, 2010 in Blacksburg, Virginia. Virginia Tech won 49-27.  (Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images)
    Geoff Burke/Getty Images

    Although the Panthers are pretty decent against the pass I don't think it would be a bad idea to add some depth. Considering the Falcons are expected to take a receiver high in this year's draft, it makes even more sense. 

    Carmichael ran a 4.39 at his pro-day and will be great to match-up against the speedy receivers in New Orleans and whomever Atlanta selects in the draft. 

5. Pierre Allen DE Nebraska 6'4" 273

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    MOBILE, AL - JANUARY 29: Quarterback  Christian Ponder #7 of the South Team passes over defensive lineman Pierre Allen #95 North Team during the fourth quarter of the Under Armour Senior Bowl on January 29, 2011 at Ladd-Pebbles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama.
    Sean Gardner/Getty Images

    I'm not entirely sure if Carolina's lack of pass-rush was due to the players or the scheme, but they only mustered 31 sacks on the year. Charles Johnson has come on strong and had 12 of those sacks by himself. I do think Greg Hardy will improve but I'm not sure he's ever going to be a top pass-rusher in the league. 

    Pierre Allen could offer some competition for the spot opposite Charles Johnson and provide the Panthers with depth to cover injuries.

6. Denarius Moore WR Tennessee 6' 194

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    ATHENS, GA - OCTOBER 11:  Denarius Moore #6 of the Tennessee Volunteers walks off the field during the game against the Georgia Bulldogs at Sanford Stadium on October 11, 2008 in Athens, Georgia.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
    Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

    I know most fans would love to target a wide receiver much earlier in the draft but I have tons of faith in Brandon Lafell and David Gettis. They both have great size and will get much better with a quarterback that can get the ball out faster. If you need convincing just look at the LSU film on Lafell. 

    However, adding speed wouldn't be a terrible idea this late in the draft. Moore ran a 4.37-40 at the combine and would be just one more target for Gabbert.

7. Armando Allen RB Notre Dame 5'8" 199

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    SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 04: Armando Allen Jr. #5 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish runs for a yardage against the Purdue Boilermakers at Notre Dame Stadium on September 4, 2010 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Somebody will get a late round steal with Armando Allen. With Deangelo Williams possibly being lost to free agency, it could end up being the Carolina Panthers. 

    Armando Allen is not only a great runner but is great catching out of the back field as well. He should add another dimension to a struggling offense.

In Closing

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    CHARLOTTE, NC - NOVEMBER 07:  Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints against the Carolina Panthers during their game at Bank of America Stadium on November 7, 2010 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
    Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

    I know that a few people are expecting to see a defensive tackle taken in the draft but the Panthers only allowed an average of 3.9 yards per carry last year. If the Cats were giving away large amounts of rushing yards per game it was due to teams playing with a lead.

    Seeing as six games are played in the pass-oriented NFC South, acquiring a good pass-rusher would be of more benefit to the team. I also drafted for speed on offense as they really have no one that can be a threat down the field.

    Hope you enjoyed it and Good Luck next season. Especially when ya'll play Tampa Bay and Atlanta. 

    Thanks for Reading.