Carolina Panthers Mock Draft 1.0
By Corey Cook
Another year, another offseason of speculation is upon us. There are a lot of moves left to be made in free agency, but here is my first take on how the 2014 NFL Draft will pan out for the Carolina Panthers:
First Round - Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia
It is never good to be forced into picking a position of need in the first round. All general managers want the ability to select the best player available or at least have a few options. With OT Jordan Gross announcing his retirement, the Panthers have no choice but to immediately look for his replacement. Moses played LT his senior year and has a massive frame to battle defenders. He will most likely be the best available candidate to replace Gross this upcoming season. Moses has great technique and if coached right, could become a solid LT for Carolina.
Second Round - Davante Adams, WR, Fresno State
There is a huge drop off in talent at the receiver position after Adams is picked. While watching his highlights, I am immediately reminded of San Francisco's Michael Crabtree and Baltimore's Torrey Smith. He has a very fluid speed that defenders always seem to underestimate. Adams is also shifty in open space and makes great adjustments on poorly thrown balls. I would venture to say that his skill level actually makes Bulldogs QB Derek Carr look good, rather than the other way around.
Third Round - Ja’Wuan James, OT, Tennessee
It is said that competition brings out the best in people. With the Panthers really hurting all along the offensive line, the team must consider double dipping at the OL position. James lacks the immense size that Moses has, but would be a very suitable player at RT or the guard position. An open competition would really send a message to the offensive line that they must step it up next year.
Fourth Round - Terrance Mitchell, CB, Oregon
Mitchell did not have the best showing at the NFL Scouting Combine, but he did show signs of being a lockdown defender at Oregon. He has very good size to play corner and seems to have the right mindset. Mitchell plays with a chip on his shoulder and the Panthers defense is proving that they play with a bit of an attitude as well. Mitchell and Captain Munnerlyn lined up together at CB would be a fierce tandem to face for any wideout.
Fifth Round - A.C. Leonard, TE, Tennessee State
Physically talented and extremely athletic is the best way to describe Leonard. He had the fastest 40 yard dash of any TE at the Combine and comes stacked with potential. Leonard did have one issue off the field while in college, but it would be hard to pass up another target for QB Cam Newton this late in the draft. In the fifth round, every team is looking for steals.
Sixth Round - Connor Shaw, QB, South Carolina
Shaw is as tough as nails. He was banged up nearly all of last year while playing for the Gamecocks, but still managed to win games. As a matter of fact, all Shaw did in college was win and it would not hurt to have that mentality brought to the Panthers bench. He posted the fastest 40 yard dash of any QB and would be great at executing the offense in Carolina. You must have someone you can count on to step in at quarterback should Newton go down for any period of time during the season.
Seventh Round - Jerry “BooBoo” Gates, S, Bowling Green
Gates at best is an adequate starting safety and at worst a great special teams player. The final round is where teams tend to roll the dice and Gates would be my bet at providing much needed depth at the safety position. He was a special teams returner at Bowling Green and while not always the most exciting player on the field, he did show sure hands.