For this draft pick by the Carolina Panthers, and all selections from this point forward, we will be breaking the move down into four categories. Each category is worth up to 25 points and a final grade will be handed out based on the total score. These are the definitions of each category:
Player- How has the player produced to this point in his career? Where does he rank among other players at his position?
Team Fit- How does he fit within the offensive or defensive scheme?
Team Need- Is this position a weak spot on the roster? Does this move strengthen the position?
Draft Value- Where did the player get drafted? Where was he projected to go?
Grade: 21 out of 25
The Panthers went with yet another cornerback to kick off day three when they selected Zack Sanchez out of Oklahoma. Although he’s a different type of player than their previous two corner selections.
Sanchez is the definition of a ball hawk. He has a tremendous ability to read quarterbacks’ eyes and make plays on the ball as evidenced by his 15 interceptions and 28 pass breakups in the last three seasons he started. He’s has a smaller build (5-foot-11, 185-pounds) so he’ll likely be used more so in the slot.
The three-year starter at Oklahoma has experience covering plenty of NFL-level receivers and while his size may be a bit of a crutch, his ball skills make him an exciting talent
Grade: 25 out of 25
Much like the previous two cornerback picks, Sanchez should fit perfectly into the Panthers defense, even with his smaller frame.
Sanchez will likely be groomed as the team’s future nickel cornerback and should see time there in relief of Brandon Boykin with the possibility of sliding outside should his ball skills make it a necessity. He thrives in zone coverage – perfect for Carolina – and should be comfortable from the get-go in the Panthers defensive scheme.
Grade: 24 out of 25
Carolina frankly needed at least a few cornerbacks in this draft and went with a third here in Sanchez.
Even before they lost Josh Norman, the Panthers were in need of cornerback depth and they’ve done just that by selecting two options out wide and another in the slot – all three with excellent ball skills.
They have a solid young group already with Bene Benwikere and Boykin and now they have even more reinforcements and options.
Grade: 24 out of 25
The fifth round was the perfect spot for Sanchez to come off the board. Many draft analysts had this being the round he would go in and the Panthers clearly were happy with him being available here.
Some might argue that three corners were excessive but it really can’t be knocked as you can never have too many depth options in the secondary. The way Carolina uses their defensive backs, some of them may even see time at the safety position as well making the move another plus.
Grade: 94 out of 100
This selection was another all-around great move by Dave Gettleman and company. They needed cornerbacks and they certainly filled that need with three players who should all get the chance to contribute early.
Sanchez is an experienced, smart corner who fits perfectly into Carolina’s defensive scheme. His ball skills make him a valuable addition and regardless of his build, he should see plenty of opportunities to produce for the Panthers.