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Five Players Carolina Panthers Could Target in the Later Rounds of the NFL Draft

The past few years, the Carolina Panthers have done an excellent job finding talent in the later rounds of the NFL Draft. We take a look at five players the team could be interested in that would fit this Panthers team.

Dak Prescott, QB, Mississippi State

Quarterback may be a surprise for some considering the Carolina Panthers have the reigning league MVP with Cam Newton and a former Pro Bowl quarterback as a backup with Derek Anderson. However, the Panthers were taking a closer look at the Mississippi State quarterback, according to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport.

https://twitter.com/RapSheet/status/719469809453301761

At first glance this is a move that would surprise but in actuality it would be a very smart, forward-thinking move for the team to draft a quarterback, in particular Prescott. He is not a finished product by any means but he is able to do more things, physically, than the team's current backup in Anderson.

The veteran quarterback has proven to be invaluable for this team, and he won two games for the Panthers during the 2014 season when Newton was injured. However, he is getting close to the end of his career and if for some reason Newton wasn't able to play, Prescott would allow the team to keep their style of offense and play-calling.

Willie Beavers, OT, Western Michigan

The offensive tackle is much stronger this time than it was a year ago heading into the NFL Draft. There was plenty of questions about whether Michael Oher could rebound and if Mike Remmers could play at the same high level he did at the end of 2014 over the course of an entire season.

However, both players played well for a majority of the season with the only true blemish coming in Super Bowl 50. There play combined with the addition of Daryl Williams would allow the Panthers to find a tackle in the later rounds who could develop into a starter.

This is why a player like Willie Beavers out of Western Michgian would make sense for the Panthers. He is an incredible athlete for his size and according to Lance Zierlin's scouting report shows excellent quickness and ability to move in space. This would be an excellent trait to have trying to block pass rushers for a mobile quarterback like Newton.

B.J. Goodson, LB, Clemson

There are a number of players on Clemson's defense getting a great deal of attention, including Shaquille LawsonKevin Dodd and Mackensie Alexander. However, the Panthers could also be interested in their linebacker B.J. Goodson, who would be a target on Day 3 of the NFL Draft.

The Panthers' linebackers are one of the best in the league with Luke KuechlyThomas Davis and last year's first round pick Shaq Thompson along with A.J. Klein as a reserve.

However, Klein is a free agent after this year but more importantly, Davis is getting up their in age and the front office may want to begin the search for his eventual replacement. A player like Goodson would make perfect sense as he could develop for the next few seasons, learn the position from one of the best in the league and eventually step into the starting lineup.

Harlan Miller, CB, Southeastern Louisiana

There is no question that the Panthers are going to have to add a cornerback this coming weekend after the recent loss of Josh Norman. However, this doesn't mean they have to use a top draft pick but rather could find a quality player in the later rounds like Harlan Miller.

This also would most likely fit GM Dave Gettleman's philosophy when it comes to the position. He believes a strong defensive line makes the secondary better and has had success in these later rounds selecting cornerbacks like Bene Benwikere.

Miller is a big cornerback at 6'0" who has the height to matchup with some of the taller wide receivers in the league. He is a player that I believe could step into the starting lineup as a rookie and play well because of the way the Panthers' defense is built.

Kevin Byard, S, Middle Tennessee State

In addition to cornerback, the Panthers should be in the market for a safety as well with the team releasing Roman Harper after the season. Kevin Byard is a player that makes too much sense for the Panthers not to target in the closing rounds of the NFL Draft.

He has the size to play strong safety however over his four seasons in college, he showed he is a ballhawk and will capitalize on poor decisions by opposing quarterbacks. He has 19 interceptions over his four seasons at the college level and returned four of them in his first two years playing in this defense. He has shown an ability to not only play center field as the last line of defense against deep passes but has the size to play close to the line of scrimmage.

The Panthers are in position where they wouldn't have to rush Byard onto the field, which would be beneficial for Byard as he learns this defense and the speed of the NFL game. However, his versatility and the turnover numbers is something that would have to be intriguing for this front office.

Twitter @BrandonCroce.

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