With their fifth round pick, the Panthers selected a local product, cornerback Josh Norman from Coastal Carolina.
Read what our friends at Optimum Scouting had to say about Norman:
Despite hailing from a small school in Coastal Carolina, the combination of the recent interest by that program by the NFL along with his performances statistically in season and at the East-West Shrine game (and Senior Bowl late) allow Norman to be firmly in the spotlight as a cornerback prospect. His rare combination of 6'6 wingspan, 6'0 height, room to get stronger if need be, outstanding hands and ball skills, and hip fluidity to get vertical likely could make some teams get over-excited for what Norman could become. However, Norman seems to be more of a "seize the opportunity and length" type producer who still needs a lot of refinement in his back pedal, footwork, and overall man-based reaction in his coverages down the field. He can let receivers get past him too easily after the press at times, lets receivers break in front of him too easily in short routes, and doesn't have a great grasp for his area on the field when he's not along the sideline. Josh Norman relies on his ability to bait the quarterback, his length, and his ability to recover and make receiver like plays on the ball for his success, and that may be enough for teams to get excited for his potential.
But unless he's a very coachable cornerback, something I can't speak in support of nor against, he will struggle against better, more complete NFL receivers when asked to cover in man and doesn't get an ideal press coverage. The Shrine Game may have put him firmly on NFL teams radar, but they likely also will have reviewed the plays where he was successful in college and at those practices to see why initial reactions on his play don't show elite ability, and his limitations as a complete man cornerback without further coaching. A worthwhile developmental, potential outside starting cornerback, Norman will need patience and time before he can amply combine his length, ball skills, and baiting ability with the requirements of a full-time, outside man cornerback.