DT Vernon Butler (Round 1, Pick 30)
Vernon Butler should be looking to make an immediate impact for the Carolina Panthers defensive unit. Expect Butler to be consistently rotating in with Kawann Short and Star Lotulelei the defensive line unit.
Prediction: 36 tackles, 3 sacks, 1 forced fumble
CB James Bradberry (Round 2, Pick 62)
Bradberry will be locked into a strong competition for the starting corner spot opposite to Bene Benwikere. Along with the wide receivers, the cornerbacks will definitely be one of the most watched groups at training camp this year. It will be interesting to see who comes out on top of this cornerback group.
Obviously, Dave Gettleman and Ron Rivera think highly of the Samford product to select him with their second round pick. Because of that I will give him the benefit of the doubt as being the starting cornerback entering the season.
Prediction: 32 tackles, 1 interception, 4 pass deflections
CB Daryl Worley (Round 3, Pick 77)
Worley is another one of the cornerbacks fighting for a starting spot on the team. I don’t expect Worley to be an immediate starter, but look for Worley to get some quality minutes in the secondary by rotating in and potentially finding a spot a special teams unit. He may be able to earn a starting role if he performs well late into the season.
Prediction: 16 tackles, 3 pass deflections
CB Zack Sanchez (Round 5, Pick 141)
Zack Sanchez out of Oklahoma, is the third and final corner out of this draft class, Sanchez will see most of his time rotating in as a nickel back. However, I don’t see Sanchez as the Panthers first choice nickel back. More than likely, Benwikere will slide to slot when the Panthers choose to go nickel.
Prediction: 12 tackles, 1 pass deflections, 1 interceptions
TE Beau Sandland (Round 7, Pick 252)
I don’t think Sandland will command a lot of playing time this season, especially at the tight end position with 2015 Second Team All-Pro Greg Olsen and Ed Dickson returning to the team. He may check in on offense a few times throughout the season if the team decides to go to a three-tight end set. Sandland may also find a role on some of the special teams unit if he proves he can make an impact there.
Prediction: 2 Rec, 12 yards, 3 total tackles
WR Keyarris Garrett (UDFA)
I believe Garrett can find his way into the Panthers receiver core this season. The talent is definitely there. Garrett led the entire NCAA in receiving yards with 1588 yards. Garrett can certainly find a way to contribute if he earns the opportunity.
Prediction: 11 receptions 72 yards
FB Devon Johnson (UDFA)
My dark horse for this season is going to be Devon Johnson out of Marshall. Johnson rushed for 1767 yards and 17 touchdowns as a junior. However, his senior year his production was slowed due to injury. I think the Panthers will give him a few of touches at some point this season, he could very well end up being the replacement for current starter Mike Tolbert down the line.
Prediction: 17 rushing attempts, 64 yards, 1 Touchdown