First Round, Pick 27
RB – DeAngelo Williams, Memphis
TFY Draft Preview:
Bio: Awarded All-American and All-Conference honors last season after 310/1,964/18 on the ground and 12/71/1 as a receiver. Junior rushing totals included 313/1,948/22 after 243/1,430/10 as a sophomore. Conference USA Player of the Year every season since his sophomore campaign.
Pos: Patient and instinctive ball carrier with a complete game. Sees the field, waits for blocks to develop and follows them anywhere on the field. Finds the cutback lanes, makes defenders miss and gets through the small creases. Plays with outstanding balance, body control and power. Displays good first-step quickness with a burst of speed. Aggressive, puts his shoulders into defenders and works to finish runs. Effective blocking in pass protection. Solid pass catcher.
Neg: Lacks the flat-out speed to beat defenders around corner. Has carried the ball almost 1,000 times in college.
Analysis: A highly decorated collegian and the nation's top senior running back, Williams has the tools to be an instant starter in the NFL. Should have a long and productive career yet does not have that something special to make one think he's a franchise runner.
PantherInsider Analysis: Williams is a high-character, high-energy guy who proved in college that he can carry the load. The Panthers were elated to select him, and even considered trading up to ensure they got him. Of course, the Panthers just signed RB DeShaun Foster to a three-year deal, however, it is structured so that the Panthers could part ways with him if he suffers another season-ending injury. The ideal situation would have both backs battle for playing time and share carries, lessening the burden on both and keeping each fresh. As the team learned last year, you can't have enough healthy, talented running backs.
Second Round, pick 58
CB – Richard Marshall, Fresno State
TFY Draft Preview:
Bio: All-Conference selection as a junior after leading the team in tackles, posting 78/3/11. Sophomore totals included 61/3/5.
Pos: Physically gifted cornerback who shuts down opponents. Works to get out of jams against opponents at the line of scrimmage, displays good footwork in all directions and loses nothing in transition. Displays a great burst of speed, timing and flashes on the scene. Clings to opponents in downfield coverage, not afraid to mix it up, and is a willing defender in run support.
Neg: Hesitant in zone coverage. Struggled against top competition last season.
Analysis: Possessing excellent size/speed numbers, Marshall is an athletic prospect with a great amount of upside. Needs to fine-tune his game yet offers starting potential.
PantherInsider Analysis: The Panthers scored a coup of sorts, nabbing a first-round talent like Marshall late in the 2 nd round. A confident, cocky corner that will immediately be able to step in at nickel, Marshall will also be able to fill in at starter if either Lucas or Gamble miss any time due to injury. Rumor has it that the club may give him a chance at returning kicks as well.
Third Round, pick 88
LB – James Anderson, Virginia Tech
TFY Draft Preview:
Bio: Two-year starter who posted career-best numbers of 82/8.5/3 as a senior after 48/6.5/2.5 during his junior campaign.
Pos: Developing linebacker who stands out in space. Collapses from the outside defending the run, quickly changes direction and displays good range. Smart with solid instincts. Gets depth on drops and holds his ground at the point of attack.
Neg: Not a sure-handed tackler or sudden defender. Average skills in coverage.
Analysis: A prospect who elevated his game the past two years, Anderson is a one-gap linebacker who should excel on special teams.
PantherInsider Analysis: Anderson cites former Panther Will Witherspoon as a player he tried to emulate while at VT. They have similar builds, speed, instincts and intelligence. Anderson will at worst provide a hard-hitting special teams player, but could challenge for a starting spot in the future as he learns and grows in the system. He has a tremendous work ethic, and the Panthers expect him to contend for a starting spot sooner rather than later.
Third Round, pick 89
OT – Rashad Butler, Miami
TFY Draft Preview:
Bio: Full-time starter the past two seasons, handling the right tackle position as a senior after spending his junior campaign on the left side.
Pos: Athletic pass-blocking tackle with excellent upside for the next level. Plays with good pad level, effectively uses angles and shows potential as a position blocker. Quick-footed sliding laterally, properly places his hands into defenders and makes exceptional use of angles. Anchors at the point and works well with teammates.
Neg: Not an overpowering lineman and rarely gets movement from run blocks. Has a tall, thin build and needs to improve the strength of his base.
Analysis: A solid worker who's shown definite progress the past two seasons, Butler is a solid developmental prospect who could grow into a starting tackle in the NFL.
PantherInsider Analysis: Butler has all the tools needed for a starting level tackle except brute strength, however that is something the Panthers' staff feels like they can give him with a year or two of NFL weight training. A smart young man who at very least will provide depth behind Wharton and Gross, and in time could push Travelle Wharton for a starting spot. Butler has some of, if not THE longest arms in the draft, which he says hindered him in the combine weight lifting excercises.