Round 1: Emmanuel Ogbah DE – Oklahoma St.
Another week has gone by and right now it’s another week with Emmanuel Ogbah penciled in as the Panthers first round selection. Carolina added some more defensive line depth with Paul Soliai this past week but will almost assuredly be looking for a future starter at defensive end opposite Kony Ealy.
As mentioned in previous mocks, Ogbah is athletic, fast and displays flashes of excellent power that make him an exciting prospect. The fact that these things are shown in only flashes is why he’ll likely last til the end of round one but he has enough upside and potential to make him a valuable addition to the Panthers’ roster.
Round 2: Xavien Howard CB – Baylor
One thing that’s almost certain come draft day is that Carolina will be looking for additional help at cornerback to provide depth or a potential day one starter. Who that will be is obviously still a mystery but one candidate is the big corner out of Baylor, Xavien Howard.
During Baylor’s pro day, Howard produced some excellent numbers to help out his draft stock and as NFL.com’s Gil Brandt said, looked impressive during positional drills as well. Howard is a quick player with excellent ball skills and is a big, physical coverage man. He has issues with grabbing receivers and needs quite a bit of work in against the run but has enough upside and traits to work with to make him a solid round two selection.
Round 3: Cyrus Jones CB – Alabama
For a third week in a row, there’s another repeat in the Panthers’ Mock Draft with cornerback Cyrus Jones being the choice in round three. With Howard as a potential depth player at outside corner in round prior, Jones would be the choice to help fill the nickel spot.
Jones is quick, tough and as physical as they come for a nickelback. He plays up to his opponent’s level and although he lacks size standing at just 5’10” he’s the type of player the Panthers would love to have and should definitely be on their radar when the second and third round rolls around.
Round 4: Jayron Kearse S – Clemson
Way back in edition 1.0 of the Panthers’ Mock Draft, Clemson safety Jayron Kearse was our selection in round one. And after a few weeks which have seen his stock take a hit, projecting him somewhere around the fourth or fifth, he’s back as Carolina’s round four pick.
The need at safety, to start or backup, is still present in Carolina with no free agent acquisitions to date and a player with the potential of Kearse should be an option. The Clemson product is truly massive (6’4”/216lbs) and has the length that makes him a tremendous playmaker and hitter. His energy level is a big concern though as he appears to take plays off at times and just drift around. If any coaching staff could maximize that talent though, the Panthers certainly have it and could turn him into quite a prospect.
Round 5: Joe Haeg OT – North Dakota St.
The Panthers don’t need an immediate fix at either tackle spot but they should definitely be looking for their future at left tackle with Michael Oher being nothing more than a stop-gap bridge player. And in the mid-to-late rounds, Joe Haeg would be a solid choice for that role.
Haeg is a big athletic tackle with solid agility against speed rushers. He uses his length well and is a solid player in pass protection, good for a potential franchise left tackle. Haeg has his fair share of issue though in terms of bend and gets caught off guard at times because of it. If he can bulk up a bit more and work on his patience in pass sets, he could certainly be a future starter on Carolina’s offensive line.
Round 7: DeMarcus Ayers WR – Houston
There’s no absolute need for a receiver in Carolina, or really any skill player at all. But why not add to the offense with a dynamic, big-play threat with a player they haven’t ever truly utilized? And that player could be Houston’s Demarcus Ayers.
Ayers is a quick, versatile weapon capable of lining up all over the field and make plays. He racked up the stats at Houston with his speed-quickness combo that allowed him to fake out defenders in the open field. He lacks polish and will need some time to develop but in the late rounds, why shouldn’t the Panthers take a flier on a player like Ayers?