Prospect Profile: Jaxson Hayes

After putting up 75 points against the Miami Heat this past Sunday, it isn’t looking good for Charlotte’s playoff hopes. While I’m not outwardly rooting for us to lose games, it wouldn’t be devastating if we missed the playoffs. After diving into this year’s draft class, one of the guys I think the Hornets should target is Texas center, Jaxson Hayes.

Jaxson Hayes 

Relevant Stats: 17 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 3.8 BPG, 1 SPB (Per 40), 12.6 TRB%, 73.9 TS%, 10.8 BLK%, 5.1 OBPM, 7.2 DBPM

Hayes is the prototypical center for today’s game. He’s a low usage guy that won’t take touches from your primary initiator. He can anchor your defense. He alters everything at the rim. Moves his feet well enough to potentially be able to switch on defense. He’s a vertical spacer on the offensive end that provides a lot of gravity. He’s been ridiculously good this year at Texas as you can see in his numbers. All of his looks are at the rim but a near 74 TS% is insane. He also has touch at the line where he’s shooting over 73%.

His defense is what intrigues me the most as it’s such a huge need for the Hornets right now. He’s the type of guy that could set the identity and you use other guys to build around him on that end. Here’s him working in open space:

This is really encouraging for a modern big. Because there’s so much pick & roll that is run in the NBA, you need a center that can defend in space. Now, these college guards aren’t Kyrie Irving or Victor Oladipo but it’s still intriguing that Hayes has flashed this ability. If he can move this well against NBA guys, he’ll be super impactful in the regular season AND the playoffs.

And here’s a compilation of him just destroying any guy who shoots near him:

The guy is a monster at the rim. He’s so long that he can block jump shots too.  The good thing about a lot of his blocks is that he’s keeping the ball in play. This is resulting in transition opportunities for his team. That’s really valuable. This would be huge for a Hornets team that has no shot-blocking at all.

Hayes does have his negatives. He’s super raw and can’t do much else on offense but catch lobs and finish when he’s really close to the rim. There has been flashes of some dribbling ability but that’ll have to be developed. He has a tendency to over help sometimes to get blocks and this can put him out of position and gets him in foul trouble a lot. The rebounding rate is putrid especially for how big and athletic he is. For reference, good rebounders in the NBA are always around that 20% rate or higher. 12.6% just isn’t going to get it done.

Hayes also suffered an injury during the Big 12 tournament and is likely out for the remaining NIT games that Texas will have. Texas Head Coach Shaka Smart doesn’t think it’ll be a lingering injury but it’s still something to consider.

Hayes is very young though and doesn’t turn 19 until May. All of his deficiencies are fixable. He weighs 220 pounds now but he has the frame to put on more weight. He’ll be able to bang with bigger bodies then and hopefully, it’ll help with his rebounding. He’s a high upside guy with a lot of talent and that’s the type of player that the Hornets should be looking for. We’re in desperate need of talent and selecting Hayes would be a step in the right direction.

Mock Draft 2.0, Two Rounds

That’s right.

I’m back. With another mock draft.

This mock draft is two rounds long and is based on what I think will happen. I am using many draft analysts to base my picks on including Daniel Jeremiah, Bucky Brooks, Mel Kiper, Dane Brugler, and Matt Miller.

Enjoy.

1. Arizona Cardinals – Nick Bosa, Edge Rusher, Ohio State
The Arizona Cardinals have numerous options here including Alabama defender Quinnen Williams, but Bosa has the potential to be an elite edge rusher. Pairing him with Chandler Jones gives Arizona one of the best pass-rushing duos in the NFL.

2. San Francisco 49ers – Josh Allen, Edge Rusher, Kentucky
Edge is a desperate need for the 49ers and Josh Allen provides top-5 value. Quinnen Williams is still available here, but his skill set would be quite redundant given the amount of attention San Francisco has poured into their interior defensive line over the past four drafts.

3. New York Jets – Quinnen Williams, Interior Defensive Line, Alabama
The Jets would happily grab Williams, should he actually fall to New York with the third overall pick. There are rumors that the Jets may part with Leonard Williams, and should they choose to do so, Quinnen Williams would not only be the best player available at this spot, but also an excellent fit with the team.

4. Oakland Raiders – Rashan Gary, Defensive Line, Michigan
Rashan Gary is one of my favorite players in this year’s NFL Draft. He provides versatility along the defensive line. While Gary didn’t have an explosive year as many expected of him at Michigan, he still displayed freakish athletic ability and talent during the entirety of his tenure for the Wolverines.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Cody Ford, Offensive Line, Oklahoma
The Bucs need help along the offensive line and Ford brings the versatility to do so. He’s a quality offensive lineman and should help tremendously both in the run and pass game.

6. New York Giants – Clelin Ferrell, Edge Rusher, Clemson
I firmly believe that the New York Giants aren’t interested in selecting a quarterback this year, sadly. Instead, they give Eli Manning another shot and Clelin Ferrell is the best player available. Gettleman’s draft strategy is an interesting one, nonetheless.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars – Dwayne Haskins, Quarterback, Ohio State
The Jaguars are finally done with the Blake Bortles experiment (rightfully so) and Haskins is probably the safest quarterback in this draft (if there is one). Not having to move up would be the dream, however, I’m not including trades in this mock draft in total. That may not be the case in April.

8. Detroit Lions – Jeffrey Simmons, Defensive Line, Mississippi St.
The projected three-technique is a versatile lineman that can play all three downs. The Detroit Lions may not get the chance to select Simmons, however, as Daniel Jeremiah reported teams were “buzzing” about his talent.

9. Buffalo Bills – Marquise Brown, Wide Receiver, Oklahoma
The Buffalo Bills need to surround their young franchise quarterback, Josh Allen, with weapons. Dane Brugler of the Athletic reported that Brown was a receiver that many teams had “sky-high” grades on. With the way that the NFL is moving (with teams trying to find the next Tyreek Hill-esque player), Brown will likely be the first pass-catcher taken. The Bills desperately need weapons in all shapes and sizes.

10. Denver Broncos – Greedy Williams, Corner, LSU
The Broncos, ironically enough, need another outside corner after winning the Super Bowl three years ago with elite pass rushers and secondary players. Williams has the potential to be a true number one corner with ball-hawking skills and the size to cover almost any outside receiver.

11. Cincinnati Bengals – Devin White, Linebacker, LSU
The Bengals can’t overthink this pick. White should be an elite-level linebacker for years to come. If he can learn his keys, White will be a top-5 player from this class. Not to mention, the Bengals have a pretty pressing need at linebacker.

12. Green Bay Packers – Jachai Polite, Edge Rusher, Florida
The Packers need a youthful edge rusher and Polite is very efficient at getting to the quarterback with his speed. Polite is one of many pass rushers the Packers have to pick from so it may come down to personal preference. Regardless, it seems that Green Bay will start off day one with an edge rusher.

13. Miami Dolphins – Ed Oliver, Defensive Lineman, Houston
The Dolphins could get better with their interior pressure, and Houston’s Ed Oliver would be an absolute godsend this late in the draft. Oliver may not have gotten the production wanted by NFL teams in college, but he is a freak athlete and should be a force at the next level.

14. Atlanta Falcons – Jawaan Taylor, Offensive Tackle, Florida
Head Coach Dan Quinn said that the Falcons’ o-line needs massive work this off-season, and Taylor is a versatile lineman that can play right tackle or either guard spot. Realistically, it seems as if most people connected in the draft have Taylor mocked higher than this, so he may not last until the Falcons pick.

15. Washington Redskins – DK Metcalf, Wide Receiver, Ole Miss
The Redskins need a quarterback. But before they get one, they need to make sure he will have viable weapons. Metcalf is many analyst’s WR1 this draft cycle and rightfully so. While he is a boom-or-bust selection, it seems like Metcalf is much more likely to ‘boom’.

16. Carolina Panthers – Montez Sweat, Edge Rusher, Mississippi St.
The Panthers desperately need help on the edge, and with the way they value the defensive line in Charlotte, Sweat seems like the obvious pick. He helps an old Panthers defense get much younger and could become an integral part of an aging defense.

17. Cleveland Browns – Andre Dillard, Offensive Tackle, Washington St.
One of the more polished tackles in this year’s draft, many are split on Dillard’s value, whether it be in the first round or later. However, the one constant among those plugged into NFL teams and what they are thinking seems to be Dillard is one of the top tackles in this year’s draft, and has more value than Jonah Willaims. Somewhat surprising, but the Browns need to protect their franchise quarterback and Dillard may be the permanent fix after Joe Thomas retired a season ago.

18. Minnesota Vikings – Jonah Williams, Offensive Lineman, Alabama
Speaking of Jonah Williams, Dane Brugler of the Athletic also mentioned teams are split on Williams, whether he’s a tackle or guard. He could go in the top-10 or as late as round two, surprisingly enough. This is the middle ground, and he helps a Vikings line that needs it.

19. Tennessee Titans – TJ Hockenson, Tight End, Iowa
Despite not being TE1 at Iowa, Hockenson is the first tight end off of the board. He fits the modern NFL very well and the Titans need youth at the position with Delanie Walker aging rapidly.

20. Pittsburg Steelers – Devin Bush, Linebacker, Michigan
The Steelers are going to do something off-the-wall with this pick, like selecting Terrell Edmunds in the first round last year. Since I cannot predict what they’ll actually do, I’ve got them taking a relatively safe player with Devin Bush, a first-round caliber linebacker.

21. Seattle Seahawks – Brian Burns, Edge Rusher, Florida State
Another team that drafts in an unpredictable manner is the Seahawks, who took Rashad Penny in the first round last year. They also tend to trade down, but since I’m not projecting trades (yet), I have them selecting the best player available at a need, which would be Brian Burns.

22. Baltimore Ravens – Josh Jacobs, Running Back, Alabama
Okay. This is it. This is my off-the-wall pick. I love Josh Jacobs as a prospect and I truly believe a team is going to become sold on his skill-set and select him in the first round. It’s just a matter of where. I’m just dreaming of a Lamar Jackson/Josh Jacobs backfield, aren’t I?

23. Houston Texans – Noah Fant, Tight End, Iowa
Realistically, the Texans should pick an offensive lineman here. But I’m not sure they will, especially with some of the talent still available with this pick. Fant is a threat that would compliment Hopkins, Fuller, and Watson very well and complete a great Houston offensive skill group.

24. Oakland Raiders – Byron Murphy, Corner, Washington
Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock are ecstatic in this alternate universe. They are blessed with both Murphy and Gary with their first two picks. If they are looking to rebuild a bad defense, this certainly is not a bad start.

25. Philadelphia Eagles – Dexter Lawrence, Defensive Line, Clemson
The Eagles already have Fletcher Cox as a three-technique defensive tackle, so adding Lawrence to the mix as a nose-guard would complete an already-solid Eagles defensive line. If he didn’t fail a drug test before the college football playoff, Lawrence would be looking at a top-15 selection.

26. Indianapolis Colts – Christian Wilkins, Defensive Line, Clemson
Wilkins is a top-10 player but will fall due to positional value. Denico Autry was solid for the Colts last year, however, the value with Wilkins at 26 is far too strong for Chris Ballard to pass up. Knowing his track record however, whatever he does with this pick will probably work out for the Colts.

27. Oakland Raiders – Mack Wilson, Linebacker, Alabama
The Raiders finish off their first round with the selection of Mack Wilson, to help aid in a complete reset of their defense. Wilson is a pro-ready linebacker with athleticism and versatility. It’s hard to imagine him being a bust.

28. Los Angeles Chargers – Kyler Murray, Quarterback, Oklahoma
The Chargers are in an interesting spot. Phillip Rivers is aging, but I think Los Angeles will be able to utilize Murray even if Rivers returns next season. Regardless, it will be nice to have a quarterback of the future.

29. Kansas City Chiefs – DeAndre Baker, Corner, Georgia
The Chiefs need all kinds of help on defense, but firstly a corner to compliment Kendall Fuller in the secondary. Really any position other than edge rusher or defensive end, the Chiefs could draft and immediately benefit.

30. Green Bay Packers – Deebo Samuel, Wide Receiver, South Carolina
After lighting up the senior bowl in both practice and the game, Samuel deserves some round one buzz, and he may actually get it. As I mentioned earlier, Samuel fits the mold of a modern NFL receiver and teams may take notice of it thus boosting his draft stock.

31. New England Patriots – Drew Lock, Quarterback, Missouri
Death, taxes, and mock drafts with the Pats selecting a quarterback at the bottom of round one, right? Lock is a value here and should actually be the player of the future for New England, rather than Jimmy G after that whole debacle a few years ago.

32. Los Angeles Rams – Yodny Cajuste, Offensive Tackle, West Virginia
The Rams’ offensive line is spectacular. However, it’s old – really old. Cajuste is a prototypical pass-protecting offensive tackle. Getting depth and youth along the offensive line has to be one of the Rams’ top priorities.

ROUND TWO

33. Arizona Cardinals – N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
34. Indianapolis Colts – Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
35. Oakland Raiders – Kelvin Harmon, WR, NC State
36. San Francisco 49ers – Trayvon Mullen, CB, Clemson
37. New York Giants – Dalton Risner, iOL, Kansas State
38. Jacksonville Jaguars – Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State
39. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Amanu Oruwariye, CB, Penn State
40. Buffalo Bills – David Edwards, OT, Wisconsin
41. Denver Broncos – Irv Smith, TE, Alabama
42. Cincinnati Bengals – Chris Lindstrom, iOL, Boston College
43. Detroit Lions – Te’Von Coney, LB, Notre Dame
44. Green Bay Packers – Kaden Smith, TE, Stanford
45. Atlanta Falcons – Jerry Tillery, DL, Notre Dame
46. Washington Redskins – Will Grier, QB, West Virginia
47. Carolina Panthers – Nasir Adderley, S, Delaware
48. Miami Dolphins – Charles Omenihu, EDGE, Texas
49. Cleveland Browns – AJ Brown, WR, Ole Miss
50. Minnesota Vikings – Dre’Mont Jones, DL, Ohio State
51. Tennessee Titans – Riley Ridley, WR, Georgia
52. Pittsburg Steelers – Julian Love, CB, Notre Dame
53. Philadelphia Eagles – Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss
54. Houston Texans – Kaleb McGary, OT, Washington
55. Houston Texans – Beau Benzschawel, iOL, Wisconsin
56. New England Patriots – Zach Allen, DL, Boston College
57. Philadelphia Eagles – David Montgomery, RB, Iowa State
58. Dallas Cowboys – Taylor Rapp, S, Washington
59. Indianapolis Colts – JJ Arcega-Whiteside, WR, Stanford
60. LA Chargers – Cameron Smith, LB, USC
61. Kansas City Chiefs – Jaquan Johnson, S, Miami
62. New Orleans Saints – Kaleb Wilson, TE, UCLA
63. New England Patriots – Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, CB, Florida
64. Kansas City Chiefs – Damien Harris, RB, Alabama

Carolina Panthers Offseason Roundtable

The Queen’s Guard writers answer the Panthers’ biggest questions about this offseason. A series of eight questions, we answer everything from possible draft picks to which players may or may not be re-signed.

Question One: The Panthers started the year 6-2 but only won a single game in the second half of the season. Would you consider this season successful (and why or why not)?

Dylan Jackson: No. This season was far from successful. The second-half-season collapse was detrimental and many players underperformed. You can put a lot of blame on the coach, however, there are so many areas that lacked skill and performance over the final eight games of the year.

Josh George: I think the season is obviously unsuccessful because no one ever really wants to be 7-9 but I don’t think too much outrage should be had. Our QB couldn’t throw past 20 yards because he was injured and that is ultimately why we didn’t make the playoffs. There are other problems (which we will discuss later) but that was the biggest. Even with the greatness of McCaffrey, this Panther team goes as far as Cam can take us.

Stephen Sears: Absolutely not, falling from 6-2 to 7-9 is catastrophic. Obviously, certain factors played into this but once going from being considered super bowl sleepers to not even coming close to sniffing the playoffs is a big L for the organization.

Chase Pletcher: If the Panthers had gotten off to a rough start and finished 7-9 this season would’ve been considered a failure, the fact that they started off 6-2 and finished that way makes it a historic failure. The team had made the playoffs 4 of the previous 5 seasons, and has a superstar on both sides of the ball, even if you don’t think it’s “Superbowl or Bust” every year, anything less than a playoff run is a failure for this group.

Euan Reynard: Given where the team was at the midpoint of the season, winning consistently and right in the hunt for a Play-Off BYE, this season has to go down as unsuccessful. Whether the team ‘underachieved’ or not, though, is a very interesting one. With all factors considered – Injury to Cam combined with the awful coaching throughout the year from Ron Rivera, the Defensive staff and the regression that seemed to get worse throughout the year from OC Norv Turner, one could easily conclude that to come out with 7 wins was a minor miracle for this football team.

Question Two: There are a lot of notable Carolina players possibly retiring/leaving such as Thomas Davis, Ryan Kalil, Julius Peppers, Mike Adams, and Greg Olsen. What is the one or two positions that you would say needs upgrading on the Carolina Panthers roster?

DJ: The Panthers have been bad in deep-field coverage for what seems like forever. Obtaining a center-fielding safety only aids a bleeding secondary when it comes to the deep ball. Mike Adams was decent during his first season, but likely won’t return. Colin Jones isn’t the answer either. And even if Eric Reid returns, which is more probable than not, he is more of a box safety.

JG: I think the obvious position is defensive end. Ian Thomas looked great last year and I think he’s ready to be TE1. We probably do need another LB but Luke is still an all-pro player so that isn’t as pressing. Our line needs improving as well but more at the tackle positions than at center. Hopefully, we resign Eric Reid and give Gaulden a starting spot. 38-year-old Julius Peppers was probably our best pass rusher last year and that’s just sad. We didn’t give our corners a lot of help this past year because we couldn’t generate any pressure at all. We ranked 27th in sacks last year. That just isn’t going to cut it.

SS: Defensive Line and linebacker would be my top two. We have zero edge rushers that I’m confident in and Kawaan Short and Dontari Poe severely underperformed last season. Luke Kuechly is a still force to be reckoned with but I’m not comfortable with Shaq Thompson being his running mate. After those two there’s a severe drop off in talent.

CP: EDGE and anywhere on the O-Line. The Panthers pass rush is headed by a guy who while good, would not be the number one guy on many other teams (on the Raiders though!), and the Panthers are also in desperate need of a consistent tackle and guard on the left side, as well as a center. I am almost tempted to say O-Line is the top need since it’s an offensive league, but also just one dominant pass rusher can allow you to have a defense that is capable of making timely plays.

ER: The Offensive Line seems to be the obvious answer here – having had 3 Quarterbacks all suffer injuries this season playing behind it, in the case of Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen, being taken out of the game in their very 1st starts in the NFL. Special mention to the Defensive Line, that drastically underperformed considering the amount of money and draft capital that has gone into that position group.

Credit: Last Word on Pro Football
CHARLOTTE, NC – NOVEMBER 25: DJ Moore #12 of the Carolina Panthers runs the ball against Bobby Wagner #54 of the Seattle Seahawks in the first quarter during their game at Bank of America Stadium on November 25, 2018 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

Question Three: The Panthers have also had many players excel this past season such as Christian McCaffrey, James Bradberry, Donte Jackson, Curtis Samuel, and Ian Thomas. What is the strongest position on the roster (excluding quarterback)?

DJ: The strongest position on the roster, at least in my opinion, might be the corners. James Bradberry played at a very high level last season and Donte Jackson wasn’t too far behind. Together those two are a promising young duo that should be very good for a long time.

JG: Kind of cheating here but I would like to say our receiving core (CMC, DJ, Curtis, Ian). It’s crazy because we always use to complain about Cam not having weapons. The past two drafts have finally delivered and we have so much talent. McCaffrey is probably a top-five back in the league. I’m super high on DJ and he showed us a lot this past year. I wish someone would please tell Ron Rivera to play Curtis Samuel because he’s a big play waiting to happen. Ian Thomas is another big play guy at the tight end position. I’m giddy just thinking what a healthy Cam can do with these guys actually starting.

SS: I would have ranked this group last a year ago but oddly enough I would go with the receivers. I think we have two gems in D.J Moore and Curtis Samuel who are going to stress defenses out for years to come. Also, Jairus Wright is a solid slot guy who simply gets the job done. They really only need one more piece in a possession guy –not named Devin Funchess– to be a complete group.

CP: I cannot believe I am saying this just one year after Cam Newton took the field with EMS workers at WR for him, but the receivers (tight ends included). Running back was the obvious choice, and it might be the correct choice, but I would’ve only said that if we had a strong second option like CJ Anderson or something. It’s not that CMC can’t carry the load, it’s that he shouldn’t have to. But back to the receivers, DJ Moore is probably already the best YAC receiver in the NFL. He still has some areas to improve upon such as his route running and ability to win on the outside before he can be “go to” number one, but I think he will get there. Curtis Samuel in my humble opinion is the greatest receiver of all time, but on a serious note, his emergence and (hopefully) continued good health has been huge in helping fill a much-needed hole for the Panthers. This is before I even get to Ian Thomas who has shown flashes of being a good TE1 and not just “Greg Olsen’s Backup”. If Greg comes back in a lesser role to help with blocking and in the red zone this group a hole is in great, young, hands.

ER: Right now, no one can say the Panthers have a position group that would be top 5 or even top 10 in the NFL. For years the position of strength on the team had been the Defensive Line, but as previously stated, we have seen them have a very down year. If any position group could be tipped as having the potential to be one of the league’s best, it would have to be the offensive skill group. With McCaffrey coming off a record-breaking year, DJ Moore being ranked by many as the best rookie receiver in football and Curtis Samuel showing just how valuable he is when he has the ball in his hands, this group will generate a lot of excitement going into the 2019 season.

Question Four: There’s a lot of talk about ‘getting younger, faster, and more versatile’. Could we see anyone get surprisingly cut that does not fit that mold?

DJ: I could see Dontari Poe being released. The interior defensive line wasn’t spectacular as expected last season and Dontari Poe should have been more of a force than he actually was. In fact, it’s arguable Kyle Love was better than Poe in this regard. And although even he is a free agent, it’s fairly obvious the Panthers need to find another young, promising defensive lineman.

JG: Thomas Davis was already let go and I see that as being the start of that trend to get faster and younger. Mike Adams is a guy that I can see get cut. Captain Munnerlyn as well. But, those don’t really surprise me so I don’t think anyone cut would be too dramatic.

SS: Think a guy like Mario Addison could be let go in this scenario. Panthers have kind of forced him into a starting role the past couple of seasons when really he should be a rotational guy. Think they would also save some money here but don’t quote me on that.

CP: In terms of a cut that would be “surprising” but possible I guess… Vernon Butler? Not sure if that would be a surprise, but the dead cap would only be $3.8M after June 1st. A huge surprise that I guess could maybe happen would be Greg Olsen who would be owed $7.9M in dead cap. It’s definitely not likely so don’t bank on it happening, but he’s older and beaten up and there are a lot less likely candidates on the team to get cut.

ER: The releasing of Thomas Davis could well be a sign of things to come in Carolina. I would not be shocked if we saw more veteran guys be let go by the team in the coming months as the team looks to rebuild its roster in the same fashion we watched the Seattle Seahawks do last offseason. Whether Ron Rivera can galvanize a group of young players in the way we watched Pete Carroll do in the season just gone remains to be seen, and with the way we have seen Ron treat young players during his time in Carolina, I highly doubt he can.

Question Five: The Draft is happening in April and the Carolina Panthers hold the 16th pick. Is there any particular player or position that you would like to see Hurney, Rivera, and Tepper invest in?

DJ: I would like to see the front office make an effort to get an elite pass rusher in this class. Whether it’s Clelin Ferrell, Brian Burns, or Jachai Polite, Carolina needs youth amongst its edge players and any of these three players would dramatically improve that.

JG: Haven’t done my research on the CFB guys yet so I will say my answer isn’t backed up that well. However, I’d want us to go S or DE.

SS: Defensive End would be the first option I look at in the draft. This draft is loaded with some good edge rushers at the top and very rarely do highly productive pass rushers get selected in later rounds. If one of these guys falls to us at 16 we have to take him.

CP: Yes, literally just the offensive and defensive lines. If they only draft guys in the trenches and maybe a safety by day two I will be pleased with the draft. Football really is won in the trenches and if Hurney just stockpiles these guys surely one on each side will end up good, right?

ER: The Panthers roster has a lot of needs right now, both in terms of talent and depth, so it is hard to pinpoint just one area I would like to see them target. Honestly, I would be very happy if the Panthers could trade out of the 16 spot if possible in order to accumulate more picks so long as the deal was sufficient. When you have a team with so many holes, it’s hard to imagine one guy in the middle of the 1st round would have a larger impact than if we were able to get 2 or 3 guys later on who could be solid day 1 contributors.

Question Six: In contrast, is there any player or position you do not want the Carolina Panthers to go after?

DJ: Unless a player like Jonah Williams is available, I would like to wait until the later rounds to draft an offensive lineman. I also wouldn’t be too hasty to select a safety in this position as there isn’t really an elite-level safety in this class. It’s debatable whether or not Deionte Thompson is good enough to go in the first round, but quality options at safety will always be there later on in the draft.

JG: I don’t want us to take a WR or RB in the first. For depth there, I think we could look into the later rounds. As I stated earlier, I think we have a really good young receiving core.

SS: Receiver. For one, there doesn’t seem to be a guy that stands out and deserving being selected there. Maybe one or two. However, we’re already set at the receiver position and shouldn’t really be shopping there in the early rounds of the draft.

CP: *Disclaimer* when I say don’t I mean don’t unless it’s a super late Day 3 pick that you are positive is going to have an impact. Okay, don’t draft a WR/TE. I think we need a tall guy that can play outside receiver but now is not the time to try to develop another young guy, and it’s certainly not the time to waste a top pick on one either. There are a couple other positions I would steer away from such as RB because of the success of UDFA over the past couple of seasons.

ER: After watching CJ Anderson have success since being cut by the Panthers I’m sure a lot of people will want to see Carolina draft a power runner to pair with McCaffrey. If we take one with a high draft pick when plenty will be available in free agency, I believe this would be a terrible use of resources, especially when CMC has shown his ability to thrive with a heavy load of carries.

Credit: Raleigh-Durham, ABC 11
Devin Funchess catches a touchdown pass in a Panthers’ loss to the Washington Redskins.

Question Seven: The NFL opens free agency before the draft. The Panthers will have roughly $27 million in cap space before cuts and re-signings. What player (you can only choose one) must the Panthers bring back?

DJ: There are only two players that the Panthers must re-sign. Those being Eric Reid and Daryl Williams. Reid was great for Carolina this year, and despite what Tom from Salisbury tells you, was not a distraction in the locker room. Williams, even not playing this year, is a must-re-sign with a weak Panthers offensive line.

JG: I think the guy we need to lock up at a reasonable price is Eric Reid. He definitely had an impact on our defense and is an above average guy at his position. We need him going forward.

SS: Has to be Eric Reid. Had a great year for us at safety and we’re notorious for having a revolving door at the safety position. If anything, bring him back for stability.

CP: This won’t be a common answer because he’s not a big name on the team, but I’d like to see Kyle Love back. He will be cheap and is a solid backup at the DT position. Maybe not the most important name we’d need to bring back, but it’s someone I’m positive we should bring back.

ER: Eric Reid. An obvious decision, for me. The ownership showed the bravery to go and sign him and should reward him now with a more long term deal after impressing in 2018 for the Panthers.

Question Eight: There are many premier free agents that will be available and Panthers owner David Tepper has noted that Carolina will have ‘selective aggression’ when it comes to signing players. Are there any realistic targets in particular that immediately come to mind?

DJ: The Panthers need an X-Receiver. It’s doubtful that Devin Funchess returns and Tyrell Williams would be an excellent fit alongside Curtis Samuel, DJ Moore, Jarius Wright, and Cam Newton. He would complete the wide receiver group in Carolina. Williams was a quality option on a Chargers team loaded with talent: Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Austin Ekeler, and Melvin Gordon.

JG: I’d like the Panthers to look at Ezekiel Ansah. He’s had some injury troubles which is concerning but that can also work in our favor. We could sign him at a good number. If he can get healthy, he’ll definitely outperform a reasonable contract. He’s still young too and would fit the talk of getting younger and faster.

SS: I’d go free safety here. Mainly because I don’t like the talent at the position in the draft and the options in free agency are actually really good. Tyrann Mathieu, Tre Boston, Earl Thomas, Adrian Amos, and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix could be good options. If not safety invest in the protection of Cam Newton. I’m actually fairly positive about our offensive line going into the season. Daryl Williams returning at RT, move Moton to LT, Trai Turner at RG. If we can find a solid LG or center I will be happy.

CP: Tyrell Williams from the Chargers would be a really nice addition assuming Funchess won’t be back. As I’ve said we need a taller receiver to play on the outside and at 6’4 he can be just that. I have no clue what the rumors are in regards to whether or not the Chargers plan to bring him back, but if not it feels pretty realistic so long as he isn’t more expensive than what Funchess would command (I don’t think he will, but I also have no clue, really).

ER: Carolina passed on the opportunity to sign free agent safety Tyrann Mathieu last offseason after he was cut by the Arizona Cardinals. After signing a 1 year deal with the Texans and impressing as the team made the postseason, the honey badger is now back on the market and I think Panthers GM Marty Hurney would be smart to make the deal happen this time around. Tyrann will be 27 at the start of the 2019 season which is surprisingly young for a guy who feels like he’s been around forever and signing a guy who can mentor a group of young DB’s as well as plug a lot of holes as a jack of all trades seems like an easy decision. Add to this the growing number of players from ‘DBU’ LSU in the Panthers secondary, and bringing the Badger to the Bank of America Stadium starts to feel like a match made in heaven.

Nine Draft Prospects That May Be On Their Way To Charlotte

The Carolina Panthers will be picking 16th in the draft this coming April. The players mentioned here won’t all be projected to go in the first round, but could all be in play during the entirety of the NFL draft. Carolina has a plethora of needs and these players might end up filling them this offseason.

1. Brian Burns, Edge Rusher, Florida State
Standing at 6-foot-5, 230 pounds, Burns is undersized but has unique bend and quickness off of the edge. He’s also very intelligent during plays, often shifting which gap he’ll decide to rush. One of the weaker spots in his game, however, comes when trying to switch from speed-to-power. During the draft process, his weight will be closely monitored by most teams. The main question regarding Burns will be his ability to maintain his play with an additional 20 pounds on his frame.

Burns is currently projected as a mid-first round talent but may fall down the draft due to the immense amount of talent on the edge in this draft. He is a player that will likely be available when the Carolina Panthers pick at 16.

2. Cody Ford, Interior Offensive Line, Oklahoma
The Panthers desperately need to protect Cam Newton, and Cody Ford is a unique blocker that played right tackle at Oklahoma protecting another mobile quarterback in Kyler Murray. Ford is very quick for his size (similar to Trai Turner) and would help solidify a young Panthers line that already has Taylor Moton, Daryl Williams, and the aforementioned Trai Turner.

Ford is a strong player and almost nobody was able to bullrush him this past season for the Sooners. The only major concern with Ford would be his footwork, which, again, should improve once moved to the interior offensive line. He is projected to go in the first round, but many evaluators are struggling to project his stock further than that.

3. Devin Bush, Linebacker, Michigan
Devin Bush is an explosive, smart linebacker that is always involved in the play. While Bush is undersized (5-foot-11, 220), he’s powerful and has a very high football IQ. Bush is a dynamic blitzer who is able to shoot a given gap with ease. He isn’t the best block-shedder, but not all linebackers need to be.

Devin Bush is the type of linebacker that can take over any given football game. He is projected as a late-first round prospect, but his stock could improve if he tests well at the NFL combine.

4. Deionte Thompson, Safety, Alabama
Thompson is a player on the back end with elite speed and athleticism. He’s quick to the ball, and one of the better coverage safeties in this draft. Thompson struggled against Clemson in the college football championship game, but was an elite level player during the first half of the season.

While there is a debate between Thompson and Nasir Adderley of Delaware, the Alabama product will likely go late-first round. Unless Carolina either trades down or Thompson falls to their second round pick, I’m doubtful that Carolina will select him on day one.

5. Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, Defensive Back, Florida
I have CGJ listed as a defensive back because nobody is really sure of where he will be listed in the NFL. I personally see him as a nickel corner despite him playing most of his time at Florida at the safety position. CGJ intercepted a total of nine passes during his three-year career for the Gators. He can cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time but is not consistent in man coverage.

Gardner-Johnson is a great fit for the modern safety/nickel position. He is seen by most evaluators as a day two pick, but there may be a team picking in the latter half of round one that falls in love with his skill set (just like the Pittsburg Steelers did with Terrell Edmunds in last year’s draft).

6. Ben Powers, Interior Offensive Line, Oklahoma
I know what you’re thinking. Cody Ford is already on this list. But hear me out, if the Panthers decide to abstain from picking an offensive lineman in the first round, Ben Powers will likely be available in round two.

Powers was not challenged by power rushers at the collegiate level, and his footwork was mostly solid. As a run blocker, Powers covers a lot of ground in zone schemes. He doesn’t have too much power (ironically), but his strength is functional. Powers is seen as a second-round prospect that may fly up draft boards due to the lack of availability in this draft’s interior offensive line class.

7. Jaylon Ferguson, Edge Rusher, Louisiana Tech
The FBS all-time sack leader, Ferguson was elite during his tenure at Louisiana Tech. Ferguson effectively uses his hands and is quick to the point of attack. At 6-foot-5, 265, he has a great edge frame and uses his body effectively.

Ferguson will likely be available when the Panthers pick in the second round (47th overall selection), and wouldn’t be a bad way to spend the pick, should Carolina go in another direction with their first-round choice.

8. Renell Wren, Interior Defensive Line, Arizona State
Renell Wren is a quick 1-technique defensive tackle that could add much-needed depth to a disappointing Panthers defensive line in 2018. He is physically dominant, and also extremely quick for his size (Wren is rumored to have run a 4.85 40-yard dash time.

While the interior line won’t be the most pressing need Carolina must address, getting a solid 1T tackle alongside Kawann Short would only benefit the line after Dontari Poe frustrated fans in his first season in Carolina. Wren is projected to go in the late-third to early-fourth round in the draft this year.

9. Lil’Jordan Humphrey, Wide Reciever, Texas
LJ Humphrey is a big-body receiver that can go up and make catches. It’s unlikely the Panthers bring back WRX in Devin Funchess, so getting another possession-based receiver would greatly benefit the team, and especially one of Humphrey’s caliber.

Not only is he good getting the ball, but Humphrey also excels in his unique ability after the catch. At 6-foot-4, 220, Humphrey may be exactly what Carolina needs. He is projected to go in either the third, fourth, or fifth round.

NFL Mock Draft 1.0

The NFL Draft always is one of the most exciting events in football as you learn where the next generation of talent will play. However, a major part of each draft cycle is attempting to predict where each and every player will end up.

This year, the Cardinals hold the first overall pick, followed by the San Francisco 49ers, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

This mock draft is going to be two rounds long and includes trades. It is based on what I predict is going to happen – not what I would particularly do.

1. Arizona Cardinals – Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State

The Cardinals realistically have three choices here. They could select Nick Bosa (the consensus best edge prospect in this draft), Quinnen Williams (the best player at one of the team’s many needs), or trade back and let a quarterback-needy team select a player like Dwayne Haskins. In this scenario, however, Arizona takes Nick Bosa, who many have had pegged at this number one slot for months now.

TRADE

Jacksonville Jaguars receive: 2nd Overall Pick

San Francisco 49ers receive: 7th Overall Pick, 2019 Third Round Pick, 2019 Fourth Round Pick, 2020 First Round Pick, 2021 Second Round Pick

2. Jacksonville Jaguars (from SF) – Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State

The Jaguars make a trade to move up and select their guy. The Blake Bortles experiment has clearly failed and Jacksonville is looking to rebuild after just one season with a winning record. Dwayne Haskins could be a great quarterback to build your team around, and with Oregon quarter back, Justin Herbert, going back to college, this leaves the QB class thin making this the correct pick.

3. New York Jets – Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama

The Jets have a young quarterback that they need to protect, and Williams has been stellar for the Crimson Tide. Getting a star left tackle could immensely (and immediately) help Sam Darnold and the New York Jets.

4. Oakland Raiders – Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama

Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden would probably be very happy if Quinnen Williams fell to them with the fourth overall pick, and shouldn’t hesitate to select him. The now-first overall player on my big board should be a force for the Raiders for years to come. Williams is an interior monster in both the run and pass game.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Greedy Williams, CB, LSU

The Buccaneers number one corner Brent Grimes reportedly quit on the team before their season closer against Atlanta (not to mention Grimes’s expiring contract and relative age). Therefore, the Buccaneers need to find another player in the secondary after many of their young prospects have not panned out. Williams is a ball-hawk in the secondary and has a chance to be a lock-down corner on the outside.

6. New York Giants – Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky

After the 49ers trade out of the second draft spot, Josh Allen falls four spots from his original projected draft slot of number two. The Giants, however, don’t let him fall any further. The team could take an offensive lineman, linebacker, or possibly even an interior lineman, but with a premier player at a premier position available, this selection should be a no-brainer.

7. San Francisco 49ers (from JAX) – Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State

After Josh Allen is taken one pick before Lynch makes his selection, the 49ers still decide to go with a pass rusher. Burns would help along the edge after Solomon Thomas has failed to develop as a pass rusher (but is good at getting in on rushing plays). Burns helps the 49ers pass rush immensely.

8. Detroit Lions – Ed Oliver, DL, Houston

The Lions luck out when Ed Oliver is still somehow on the board with this pick. An athletic freak, Oliver dominated all three of his years at Houston despite some issues with the coaching staff fairly recently. After trading for Damon Harrison, the Lions interior defensive line becomes an absolute unit.

TRADE

Miami Dolphins receive: 9th Overall Pick

Buffalo Bills receive 13th Overall Pick, 2019 Third Round Pick, 2019 Fifth Round Pick

9. Miami Dolphins (from BUF) – Drew Lock, QB, Missouri

Drew Lock has one of the highest ceilings for a quarterback in this draft. Last year for Missouri, Lock totaled 28 touchdowns and eight interceptions. For a team looking to move on from Ryan Tannehill, Lock just might be their best option in this draft.

10. Denver Broncos – Jeffrey Simmons, DL, Mississippi State

Denver has two elite edge rushers in Bradley Chubb and Von Miller. Gaining another interior lineman to create vertical pressure could not only help the run defense but also decrease the space at which a quarterback has to step up and make a throw. Simmons could possibly be a top-5 talent without the news of him being a bad character in the locker room.

11. Cincinnati Bengals – Devin White, LB, LSU

I’m going to steal this pick from Matt Miller, just because I love it so much. White has the potential to be a top-tier linebacker in the NFL and is most certainly a top-5 talent in this draft. If he can learn his keys, there isn’t anything stopping White from being the best player on the field.

12. Green Bay Packers – Jachai Polite, EDGE, Florida

The Green Bay Packers almost took Marcus Davenport last season but made the right decision to trade back and obtain an additional first round pick this year. Polite arguably is a better prospect than Davenport last year and is certainly more NFL-ready. For a roster that doesn’t have much outside of Aaron Rodgers, Polite is certainly a talent upgrade.

13. Buffalo Bills (from MIA) – Yodny Cajuste, OT, West Virginia

Cajuste is a great pass blocker on the left side of the line. Josh Allen needs a team around him (just in general, a team – there’s way too many holes on that offense) to be a successful NFL quarterback. He has been successfully running the ball but could definitely use another tackle to help him have time to actually throw the ball.

14. Atlanta Falcons – Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan

The Atlanta Falcons need an offensive lineman, but probably won’t be in the position to select one worth the 14th overall pick. Gary, if he tests well, could end up being a top-10 pick. As for now, though, he fits the Falcons seamlessly. Gary can play either the 3-technique defensive tackle spot or even on the edge some (a la Calais Campbell).

15. Washington Redskins – N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State

The Redskins don’t really have a true number one wide receiver. Sure, there’s newly signed Paul Richardson and bust-Josh Dotson, but N’Keal Harry seems to be a special player. There isn’t really much he can’t do. Image Kelvin Benjamin, except athletic, faster, and about 10x better at football.

TRADE

Indianapolis Colts receive: 16th Overall Pick

Carolina Panthers receive: 22nd Overall Pick, 56th Overall Pick

16. Indianapolis Colts (from CAR) – Christian Wilkins, DL, Clemson

The Colts move up to grab their guy. Wilkins is a three-technique defensive tackle that should improve the interior pass rush immensely. While there is a lot of talent in this draft at the position, Wilkins is the last of an early-round tier, and the Colts have the assets to make a move for the particular player that they want.

17. Cleveland Browns – Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson

The Browns simply select the best player available, and that would be Clelin Ferrell at this point in the draft. In part due to the edge position being so stacked in this draft (and passing on Bradley Chubb for Denzel Ward last year), they upgrade the edge slot this year instead. While it would be nice to take an offensive lineman with this pick, there isn’t really one worth the selection. Ferrell could easily be a top-5 pick if a team in that range values his potential and fit.

18. Minnesota Vikings – Devin Bush, LB, Michigan

Devin Bush has recently come on as a first-round prospect. For a team that may move on from Anthony Barr, Bush helps in a lot of areas, from coverage skills to getting to the quarterback. Bush is an all-around linebacker that could help an already-great defense in many ways.

19. Tennessee Titans – DK Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss

The Titans need more weapons. Corey Davis has been okay and still has plenty of potential, but getting another young pass-catcher on the opposite side of the field could help Marcus Mariota and the overall boring-ness of the Titans offense get… well… less boring.

20. Pittsburgh Steelers – Byron Murphy, CB, Washington

The Steelers desperately need help on the other side of Joe Haden, and Murphy could end up being the best corner from this class. The objective for Pittsburgh has to be to get more defensive help for an already electric team. They attempted this last year when they picked Terrell Edmunds, but that hasn’t turned out as well as expected after one year.

21. Philadelphia Eagles – Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama

The Eagles don’t necessarily need a safety, but the value of Thompson at pick 21 is tremendous. Taking him to pair along with Malcolm Jenkins only makes the future brighter for Philadelphia.

22. Carolina Panthers – Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State

The Panthers desperately need edge help with Mario Addison aging rapidly and Julius Peppers likely retiring. Sweat brings immediate help and value this late in the draft. Carolina is able to move down and still get a player at a premier position.

23. Seattle Seahawks – Dexter Lawrence, DL, Clemson

Seattle tried to take a defensive lineman in the second round two years ago with Malik McDowell but after a major injury put his future in doubt, the team has still yet to solve the problem. Poona Ford, a UDFA from Texas has been solid, but Lawrence could be a long-term fix at the position, and possibly a future pro-bowler, as well.

24. Baltimore Ravens – Riley Ridley, WR, Georgia

Despite his low production numbers, Ridley remains one of the better all-around receiver prospects in the 2019 NFL draft. The Ravens still don’t have many weapons on the outside, and Ridley could be one of the steals at this point in the draft.

25. Oakland Raiders – DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia

The Raiders could use more help at the cornerback position (and anything else other than quarterback really), and Baker is one of the best left at the position. Paired with Gareon Conley, the young duo has the potential to be great.

26. Houston Texas – Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss

The Texans need to protect DeShaun Watson after he was nearly killed this year, being sacked more than 65 times. Noah Fant could be considered here, but the need for offensive linemen is far too strong to pass on Little at this point.

27. Oakland Raiders – Oshane Ximines, EDGE, Old Dominion

The Raiders took Quinnen Williams earlier in this mock draft, but that shouldn’t stop them from taking an edge with this pick. After they traded Khalil Mack early on in the season, Ximines certainly may not ever reach that level of production or skill, but he would certainly help a lackluster Raiders pass rush.

28. Los Angeles Chargers – Raekwon Davis, DL, Alabama

The Chargers need some youth along the interior defensive line, and Davis is an underrated prospect that could be very good on a line that already includes Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa. Alabama also has produced many great defensive linemen over the past three years with Jon Allen, Da’Ron Payne, and Quinnen Williams.

29. New England Patriots – Noah Fant, TE, Iowa

Fant is a top-15 talent in this draft but will fall due to positional value. The Patriots could find Gronkowski’s successor with ease if they select Fant. A smart pick by New England, finding an all-around tight end that is good at mostly everything.

30. Los Angeles Rams – David Edwards, OT, Wisconsin

The Rams have a few aging offensive linemen and getting solid players to plug in the gaps could only help in protecting Jared Goff. Edwards is no exception here.

31. Kansas City Chiefs – Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

While Jacobs didn’t necessarily have the production you’d want to see in an SEC running back, someone is going to be sold on his potential. It’s just a matter of which team it is. In this case, it’s Kansas City, who need a feature back after the whole Kareem Hunt dilemma. Jacobs has shown flashes of Alvin Kamara in his time at Alabama and will have mixed reviews if he declares for the draft.

32. Green Bay Packers – Kelvin Harmon, WR, NC State

The Packers could use another receiver on the opposite side of Devante Adams, and Harmon could be an explosive threat for the pack. After having over 1000 yards for the past two seasons, Harmon has a chance to be a first-round pick and may surpass expectations in his first season.

ROUND TWO

1. Arizona Cardinals – Dalton Risner, OL, Kansas State

2. Indianapolis Colts – Amani Oruwariye, CB, Penn State

3. Oakland Raiders – Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma

4. San Fransisco 49ers – AJ Brown, WR, Ole Miss

5. NY Giants – Te’Von Coney, LB, Notre Dame

6. Jacksonville Jaguars – Kaden Smith, TE, Stanford

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Kaleb McGary, OT, Washington

8. Buffalo Bills – JJ Arcega-Whiteside, WR, Stanford

9. Denver Broncos – Daniel Jones, QB, Duke

10. Cincinnati Bengals – Chris Lindstrom, iOL, Boston College

11. Detroit Lions – Jaquan Johnson, S, Miami

12. Green Bay Packers – TJ Hockenson, TE, Iowa

13. Atlanta Falcons – Cody Ford, OL, Oklahoma

14. Washington Redskins – Zach Allen, EDGE, Boston College

15. Carolina Panthers – Elgton Jenkins, iOL, Mississippi State

16. Miami Dolphins – Jerry Tillery, DL, Notre Dame

17. Cleveland Browns – Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn

18. Minnesota Vikings – Dre’Mont Jones, DL, Ohio State

19. Tennessee Titans – Chase Winovich, EDGE, Michigan

20. Pittsburg Steelers – Cameron Smith, LB, USC

21. Philadelphia Eagles – David Montgomery, RB, Iowa State

22. Houston Texans – Damien Harris, RB, Alabama

23. Philadelphia Eagles – Jaylon Ferguson, EDGE, Louisiana Tech

24. Carolina Panthers – Taylor Rapp, S, Washington

25. Dallas Cowboys – Lukas Denis, S, Boston College

26. Houston Texas – Bobby Evans, OT, Oklahoma

27. Los Angeles Chargers – Will Grier, QB, West Virginia

28. New England Patriots – Hakeem Butler, WR, Iowa State

29. New England Patriots – D’Andre Walker, EDGE, Georgia

30. Kansas City Chiefs – Julian Love, CB, Notre Dame

31. Kansas City Chiefs – Jalen Jelks, OLB, Oregon

32. New Orleans – Ryan Finley, QB, NC State

Carolina Panthers Mock Draft 1.0

The Carolina Panthers are having a disappointing season, losing their last seven games after starting a strong 6-2. It currently looks as if they will hold a top-10 pick in the draft.

This offseason, they will have numerous holes to fill after losing many of their seasoned veterans. The futures of Julius Peppers, Mike Adams, Greg Olsen, and Thomas Davis are uncertain, and we already know that longtime center Ryan Kalil will be retiring.

The even-year curse has once again stuck the Panthers.

Round One: Deionte Thompson, Safety, Alabama

It’s likely that the Carolina Panthers bring back Eric Reid, who has far-and-away been the team’s best safety. However, adding a player that gives speed, agility, and tremendous coverage skills could only benefit the defense as a whole.

Thompson had two interceptions and five passes defensed for the Alabama Crimson Tide this season. He was largely the best player in the secondary of a front-seven heavy team, despite having five-star recruits in almost every starting spot.

Round Two: Jaylon Ferguson, EDGE, Louisiana Tech

Standing at 6-foot-5, Ferguson was an absolute freak for Bulldogs this year. He recorded 17.5 sacks and 26 total tackles for a loss, including two sacks against Mississippi State. This level of production has enabled Ferguson to break Terrell Suggs’ career record for total FBS sacks.

Adding a young edge rusher to an aging position for the Carolina Panthers should be one of their top goals this offseason, whether it be in free agency or the draft. Ferguson certainly aids in this.

Round Three: Chris Lindstrom, Guard, Boston College

The Carolina Panthers desperately need interior offensive lineman. Lindstrom could emerge as one of the top plug-and-play linemen in the draft, and the Panthers would add some much-needed protection for Cam Newton with this selection.

Lindstrom began his career for Boston College as a freshman, and depending on how he tests at the combine, could vault into a day two pick as I project here.

Round Three (Projected Compensatory Selection from Losing Andrew Norwell): Mike Weber, Half Back, Ohio State

Carolina needs to find a way to preserve Christian McCaffrey, even if it means spending a third-round pick on the running back position. Weber displayed elite strength and speed at Ohio State and might be the perfect change-of-pace back, after the CJ Anderson and Cameron Artis-Payne experiments seemingly failed.

In a backfield-by-committee in Urban Meyer’s final year as head coach of the Buckeyes, Weber tallied 858 yards and five touchdowns. He also caught 20 receptions for 104 yards and a touchdown.

Round Four: Ross Pierschbacher, Guard/Center, Alabama

The Panthers take another interior lineman with this pick. RP has been great with the Crimson Tide, finishing as a finalist for the Rimington Trophy and finishing as an AP All-American.

Carolina now gets two pieces to an interior offensive line that needs a lot of work. It must be noted, however, that Pierschbacher may not last until the fourth round.

Round Five: Lil’Jordan Humphrey, Wide Reciever, Texas

It’s doubtful that Devin Funchess returns after a disappointing contract year for the Carolina Panthers. Lil’Jordan Humphrey could be a player that steps in with ease. He could fill a team’s need for a red zone threat, should he last this long.

After missing on Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess, maybe a flyer on Lil’Jordan Humphrey late in the draft could jumpstart an already-young Panthers WR-core. Humphrey finished with over 1100 yards and nine touchdowns in his junior year at Texas.

Round Six: Clifton Duck, Slot CB, Appalachian State

The Panthers currently have Captain Munnerlyn and Corn Elder in the slot corner position, which is… not very good. Getting a high-impact player in the slot could benefit a struggling defense tremendously.

In 38 games for the Mountaineers, Duck totaled 158 total tackles, 12 interceptions, 19 passes defensed and has become an electrifying player worthy of being drafted out of a small(ish) school.

Round Seven: Olive Sagapolu, Nose Tackle, Wisconsin

Sagapolu was having a stellar senior season when his year, unfortunately, came to an end after suffering an arm injury. Adding more interior defensive line depth helps the Panthers, especially when Kendrick Norton didn’t necessarily work out like intended last offseason.

Sagapolu recorded 4.5 tackles for a loss in eight games for the Badgers in 2018. He played in a total of 28 games over the course of four years at Wisconsin.

Round Seven (via Buffalo Bills; Kaelin Clay/Kevon Seymour Trade): Khalil Hodge, Linebacker, Buffalo

Adding another linebacker may play to the Panthers advantage this season, and Hodge was a production monster in 2018. Oh, and he’s really consistent.

Hodge tallied 419 tackles in three years for Buffalo. He also recorded one interception and 7.5 tackles for a loss in 2018.

Mock Draft Class Summary:

Round One: Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama

Round Two: Jaylon Ferguson, EDGE, Louisiana Tech

Round Three: Chris Lindstrom, G/OT, Boston College; Mike Weber, RB, Ohio State

Round Four: Ross Piercshbacher, C/G, Alabama

Round Five: Lil’Jordan (LJ) Humphrey, WR, Texas

Round Six: Clifton Duck, sCB, Appalachian State

Round Seven: Olive Sagapolu, NT, Wisconsin; Khalil Hodge, LB, Buffalo

Dylan’s NFL Draft Big Board 1.0

If you are a Carolina Panthers fan, you’ve probably given up on this season – especially after the team has lost its last five games in a row. Looking forward to the draft process is one of the most fun aspects of the NFL (at least in my opinion), especially when there’s another player named Josh Allen.

Anyways, here are my top-50 players (as of right now) for the 2019 NFL Draft:

  1. Ed Oliver, DL, Houston
  2. Nick Bosa, EDGE, Ohio State
  3. Josh Allen, EDGE, Kentucky
  4. Quinnen Williams, DL, Alabama
  5. Devin White, ILB, LSU
  6. Rashan Gary, DL, Michigan
  7. Deionte Thompson, S, Alabama
  8. Greedy Williams, CB, LSU
  9. Clelin Ferrell, EDGE, Clemson
  10. Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon
  11. DeAndre Baker, CB, Georgia
  12. Jonah Williams, OT, Alabama
  13. DK Metcalf, WR, Ole Miss
  14. Brian Burns, EDGE, Florida State
  15. Yodny Cajuste, OT, West Virginia
  16. Jeffrey Simmons, DL, Mississippi State
  17. Noah Fant, TE, Iowa
  18. Jachia Polite, EDGE, Florida
  19. Dexter Lawrence, DL, Clemson
  20. AJ Brown, WR, Ole Miss
  21. Derrick Brown, DL, Auburn
  22. Greg Little, OT, Ole Miss
  23. Dwayne Haskins, QB, Ohio State
  24. Bryon Murphy, CB, Washington
  25. N’Keal Harry, WR, Arizona State
  26. Montez Sweat, EDGE, Mississippi State
  27. Daniel Jones, QB, Duke
  28. Christian Wilkins, DL, Clemson
  29. David Edwards, OT, Wisconsin
  30. Zach Allen, EDGE, Boston College
  31. Jerry Tillery, DL, Notre Dame
  32. Damien Harris, RB, Alabama
  33. Drew Lock, QB, Missouri
  34. Trayvon Mullen, CB, Clemson
  35. Dre’Mont Jones, DL, Ohio State
  36. Raekwon Davis, DL, Alabama
  37. Devin Bush, LB, Michigan
  38. Will Grier, QB, West Virginia
  39. Dalton Risner, iOL, Kansas State
  40. Kelvin Harmon, WR, NC State
  41. David Montgomery, RB, Iowa State
  42. Taylor Rapp, S, Washington
  43. Riley Ridley, WR, Georgia
  44. Jaquan Johnson, S, Miami
  45. Albert Okwuegbunam, TE, Missouri
  46. Mack Wilson, ILB, Alabama
  47. Deebo Samuel, WR, South Carolina
  48. Tyler Biadasz, iOL, Wisconsin
  49. Lukas Denis, S, Boston College
  50. Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma