Grading The Carolina Panthers Draft

<b>Analysis:</b> Big enough to play linebacker and quick enough to become a strong safety at the professional level, Thomas Davis is a solid selection for the Carolina Panthers.

Carolina Panthers
1 (14) Thomas Davis; S - Georgia
2 (54) Eric Shelton; RB - Louisville
3 (79) Evan Mathis; OG - Alabama
3 (89) Atiyyah Ellison; DT - Missouri
4 (121) Stefan LeFors; QB - Louisville
5 (149) Adam Seward; MLB - UNLV
5 (169) Geoff Hangartner; C - Texas A&M
5 (171) Ben Emanuel; S - UCLA
6 (189) Jovan Haye; DE - Vanderbilt
6 (207) Joe Berger; OG - Michigan Technological

Analysis: Big enough to play linebacker and quick enough to become a strong safety at the professional level, Davis is a solid selection for the Carolina Panthers. Depth in the Panthers' defensive backfield is adequate and the overall level of productivity at the linebacker spots is solid, so the acquisition of Davis provides further depth and an impact physical presence, at either safety or linebacker.

Questions regarding the status of veteran running back Stephen Davis make the selection of Eric Shelton an interesting one. Sporting great size for a running back (6-1, 245 pounds), Shelton has surprising speed and quickness for a player his size and supplies plenty of power to keep the chains moving, especially in a Carolina offense which appears to be tailor-made for Shelton. Not viewed as a serious threat coming out of the backfield, Shelton will be serviceable. Selecting Shelton No. 54 is a safe pick for the Panthers and could eventually pay dividends for the Panthers.

Selecting Evan Mathis in the third round could be a major coup for the Panthers. Much better as a guard, Mathis has the physical ability and intelligence to step in and compete immediately for a significant role with Carolina, a team looking for help and depth along the offensive line.

Age and injury concerns in Carolina make the selection of Atiyyah Ellison a solid move. While Ellison will not provide much in the way of a pass rush, he has an average initial burst and has learned to play the run. Ellison would be best served by being a defensive tackle in a two-gap system.

Grade: B-


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