Ever wanted to be an NFL GM and make draft picks? It’s easier than ever now with multiple websites offering the option to draft for your favorite team or the whole draft in a mock draft setup. One of the most intriguing picks this year happens to be the Panthers at the eighth spot. Do they trade back or go with the best player available? I took a stab at a few options the Panthers might go with Thursday night.
DISCLAIMER: The site does a few things in terms of trades for other teams so don’t judge me too much. Special thanks to thedraftnetwork.com
First Draft – No Trade Back (Eighth Pick)
8. Justin Fields – QB, Ohio State – Carolina would be crazy to not pick Justin Fields if he falls to the eighth spot right? Fields could possibly be that franchise quarterback that the Panthers are in search of after the failed Bridgewater experience. And for some reason, some have him being available, which would make for a very crowded quarterback room with the newly acquired Sam Darnold also in Charlotte looking for a fresh start.
39. Eric Stokes – CB, Georgia – The Panthers are in severe need in the secondary, especially on the outside corner opposite Donte Jackson. Stokes could be that guy. With 4.25 40 speed, Sports Illustrated has dubbed him a potential steal for the team that calls his name later this week. With the experience of already covering some of the SEC’s best receivers, many believe Stokes can step in on day one and contribute.
73. Javonte Williams – RB, North Carolina – No matter who is calling the signals for the Panthers this coming season, a one-two punch at running back would be a big help. Williams enters the draft as one of the top backs in the field, coming off an impressive junior campaign at UNC. Williams and a healthy CMC would cause havoc every week for opposing defenses. Also, why not keep the local kid at home (worked pretty good for Julius Peppers).
113. James Hudson – OT, Cincinnati – If you’re a Panthers fan, you know this pick is much needed and is probably a few picks too late. But even with the free agent moves made by the front office, a few insurance and backup plans are still needed across the offensive line. Hudson looks the part, standing at 6-5 and 301 pounds. The former four-star recruit started his college career at Michigan before heading to Cincinnati. Hudson could be a few years away from being that sure tackle that’s needed, but the Panthers have been patient this long…right?
151. Kylen Granson TE, SMU – He’s a project at tight end, but could be a nice option beside Dan Arnold. Granson is known for his running after the catch and getting open after routes, but he will need lots of work in the blocking area in the run game.
193. Mark Gilbert CB, Duke – Gilbert, at one time, was one of the best corners in college football but injuries have changed the course of his career. Gilbert claims to be as healthy as he’s been in a while. His 40 time might indicate that after being clocked at 4.36 at Duke’s pro day. With his size and speed, Gilbert could be a late-round steal if still on the board.
222. Cornell Powell WR, Clemson – Carolina could add some depth at the receiver with a late-developing player in Powell from neighboring Clemson. Yes, the Panthers are bringing back two 1,000 yards receivers, but the third receiver spot might be up with grabs with David Moore coming over from Seattle to replace the production of Curtis Samuels.
Other options for Carolina in the first round.
Offensive line: Carolina has been one of the few teams not to select an offensive lineman in the first round. The neglect of that position has been at the top of most fan’s list of things to correct. This could be the year the Panthers find their franchise tackle in the draft. With Penei Sewell and Rashawn Slater slated to be available possibly at the eighth pick, new GM Scott Fitterer has made it clear that the tackle position is an area of concern.
Secondary Help: Patrick Surtain Jr was called the best defensive back in college football the past season. If he can live up to any of the hype from his Alabama days Carolina selecting him in the top 10 will look like an amazing pick. At 6-2, Surtain Jr definitely has the size to translate over to the pro game. While being able to play different styles and coverages, Patrick is setting himself up for a long career like his father Patrick Sr who spent 11 years in the NFL.