USC Trojans product Marqise Lee is one of the top five wide receivers in the 2014 NFL Draft class, and I have him as the fourth-best WR in the class behind Sammy Watkins, Odell Beckham Jr., and Mike Evans. Lee is worth a top 20 pick, but I think there’s more of a chance he goes between the 20th and 32nd picks than in the top 20 due to the lack of a premium on the position in this year’s class with the ridiculous amount of depth.
Lee told Pro Football Talk Live that he has visits scheduled with the Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints as well as two other private workouts, but he did not names those two teams. This has led to speculation that one of those unnamed teams is the New England Patriots, and they would make plenty of sense as a landing spot if Lee slips to the 29th overall pick.
But before then, the Panthers and Saints will be picking, and the NFC South rivals have a varying amount of interest in taking a WR in the first round. While the Saints always have plenty of depth and talent at wide receiver for Drew Brees to work with, they did lose a couple of weapons this season and might want to add a high-impact player like Lee in the first. If he’s available for them, then he has to be under strong consideration as an option.
Anyway, the Panthers make even more sense as a landing spot for Lee at the tail end of the first round, because they obviously have a massive need at wide receiver. Bereft of a true No. 1 receiver for Cam Newton, the Panthers will have to prioritize the position in the draft, balancing that need with an even more pressing need on offense at tackle. If Lee is there for the Panthers in the first, then he might be the most likely option due to their need for a talented wideout. Ron Rivera and Dave Gettleman weren’t with the organization at the time, but Panthers fans are probably very leery about taking wide receivers from USC with a high pick after the flameouts of Keary Colbert and Dwayne Jarrett. At least Colbert played decently well at times, but Jarrett is one of the biggest WR busts of the past ten years.