The Carolina Panthers three biggest needs are at wide receiver, corner, and offensive tackle, and their biggest need is probably at tackle due to Jordan Gross’s possible retirement and Bryon Bell’s horrific play at right tackle. However, the Panthers aren’t really in a good position to take a tackle in the first round of the draft, as it simply isn’t worth it to take the likes of Morgan Moses or Antonio Richardson in the first. Cyrus Kouandjio could make sense with the 28th pick, as he has fallen due to a very poor Combine. But his poor Combine performance may have also caused the Panthers organization to sour on him as a first-round pick, so it’s important to watch for a WR or CB as the team’s pick.
Rotoworld’s lead NFL Draft analyst Josh Norris is probably my favorite draft analyst around, as he does amazing work and has a great deal of respect out there for his work. He recently appeared on CBS Charlotte’s “The Mac Attack” to talk about the Panthers options in the draft, and I found his thoughts on the potential fit between the Panthers and LSU Tigers star receiver Odell Beckham Jr. to be especially interesting.
Norris said, “Odell Beckham Jr. fits the Panthers perfectly, because he has the speed to run vertically and to separate on the ground, but he also goes up and wins at the catch point. Brandin Cooks is a Victor Cruz type. He wins to the outside, he wins to the inside, but he’s stuck to the ground. He’s going to separate with quickness, agility and expolsiveness, but he’s not going to go up and win at the catch point.”
Beckham Jr. had an amazing 40 time at the Combine, which wasn’t exactly a surprising result. An explosive playmaker, Beckham can do a variety of things, and he has the added bonus of having incredibly sure hands to go with his speed and agility; that’s not easy to find. If he slips to the 28th pick, then the Panthers would have a hard time passing up on him. Brandin Cooks also makes plenty of sense as an option for the Panthers in the first, so we’ll see how things shake out on draft day.