With the NFL Draft less than a week away, the Carolina Panthers have been working hard to get the draft board set before next week.
After hearing the pre-draft press conference with head coach Ron Rivera and general manager Dave Gettleman, wide receiver and offensive tackle seems like the glaring need for the Panthers. However, Gettleman also said if a “blue-goose” guy falls to them, like a top defensive end or defensive tackle, he will not be afraid to pull the trigger.
Rivera also revealed that he thinks getting protection for Cam Newton is more valuable than getting him another weapon on offense. That being said, we could assume they want an offensive tackle in the first round. In the end, the Panthers management has the final say on draft day, but that doesn’t mean I can’t present some interesting prospects that they might pull the trigger on come draft day.
1.) Morgan Moses, Offensive Tackle, Virginia
- Watch out for Morgan Moses in the draft, if he falls to the Panthers they might end up taking him to protect Cam Newton’s blindside. He’s strong at the point of attack, but what worries me is his blocking against a speed rush. He’s slow off the ball and gets beat more than you would want to see. However, if receivers are being passed up in the first round of the draft, and the Panthers need an offensive tackle this could be their guy.
2.) Joel Bitonio, Offensive Tackle, Nevada
- It has been reported by Peter King, that head coach Ron Rivera, “came away impressed” after visiting Nevada OL Joel Bitonio. After two visits with Bitonio, anytime a coach goes out of his way to visit a prospect it definitely raises an eyebrow. For a guy under-sized, watching him go up against UCLA’s OLB Anthony Barr a top 32 player prospect in the draft, he gets you excited. Keeping Barr off the quarterback and basically containing him the whole game is exactly what Bitonio did. Bitonio could be a replacement for Jordan Gross, especially if they can get him at No. 60.
1.) Marqise Lee, Wide Receiver, USC
- Although Marqise Lee struggled through a knee injury in 2013, he won the Biletnikoff Award and became the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year in 2012. He combined for 248 receptions, 3655 yards, and 29 touchdowns. He is quick, has solid hands, and is a good route runner. Keep your eye on Marqise Lee if he is available.
2.) Davante Adams, Wide Receiver, Fresno State
- If we see seven to eight wide receivers taken before the Carolina Panthers, you can count on them taking Davante Adams at No. 26. Adams led the FBS with 131 receptions, finished second in receiving yards with 1719, and totaled 38 touchdowns over the last two seasons. Adams is a receiver that can coral passes in down the sideline and catch the ball underneath. He definitely could help the Panthers stretch the ball down the field vertically and make the tough contested end zone catches. He wowed evaluators at the combine, as he had the highest vertical of all receivers, recording a 39.5 inch jump. Adams, who the Panthers have visited and sent Ricky Proehl to conduct a private workout with are interested in the Fresno State wide receiver. Look for him to go in either of the first two rounds.