We've already covered yesterday's picks of Jonathan Stewart and Jeff Otah. Now, let's focus on the day 2 picks.
The third round started with the Panthers picking Charles Godfrey, a cornerback / safety tweener from Iowa. Godfrey started his collegiate career at safety, but later on moved to cornerback to fill a need for the Hawkeyes. A prospect with good size, speed and tackling ability, I won't be surprised to see him start at free safety by mid-season. At the very least, he's your gunner on special teams.
"I've had a meeting with a lot of teams, and they asked me about playing free safety or corner and possibly playing some nickel, also," said Godfrey. "That was one thing about my value coming in was being able to play more than one position in the secondary. It doesn't matter whether I play corner or safety. Anywhere I can be on the field and make plays would be good for me."
Perhaps the most puzzling pick of the day was the 11th pick in the third, when the Panthers selected Penn State linebacker Dan Connor. Coming into the draft, linebacker was the deepest position on the team. Connor was graded out as a first round pick, but somehow slipped to the third round. The Panthers felt that they couldn't pass him up, despite their depth. He'll more than likely back-up MLB Jon Beason, but could ultimately push Beason to the outside and start in the middle. At any rate, the Panthers should have 5 linebackers that can start going into the season. That's not a bad problem to have.
"This past year I played middle, but the three years before at Penn State I played weakside," Connor said. "So it all depends. With (Jon) Beason there, I could add depth behind him or at the weakside. It really would be up to the coaches, and I'm open to anything."
The Panthers traded their 4th round pick to the Eagles in the Otah trade. Their next pick was tight end Gary Barnidge from Louisville in the fifth round. Despite growing up near Jacksonville, Florida, Barnidge has been a Panthers fan since the age of 10. He caught a lot of passes while at Louisville, but needs to add more weight to be an effective blocker in the NFL. He could develop into a red zone threat. He's also a long snapper, which could help him land a roster spot.
"I actually watched them a lot," Barnidge said. "I know when they came in with Jacksonville I actually liked the Panthers more than Jacksonville, even though Jacksonville is my home. I don't know what it was but I just really liked the Panthers. I followed them the last couple of years and I feel like I can came in and help stretch the field as a tight end and also be a little H-back blocker."
In the sixth round, the Panthers went for a defensive tackle and selected Nick Hayden from Wisconsin. Hayden will remind Panther fans of Jordan Carstens; an overachiever who fights tooth and nail on every play. With little depth at the moment, Hayden has a good chance of making the team and earning some playing time.
"I was waiting all day for my name to be called and am now excited that it's actually been done," said Hayden. "It's been great and I'm definitely excited to be a Carolina Panther."
The Panthers held three picks in the last round, and selected DE / OLB Hilee Taylor from UNC, OL Geoff Schwartz from Oregon and G Mackenzy Bernadeau from Bentley.
"I'm really happy," said Taylor. "This is really the place I want to be. The hometown and the fans are real good, so I'm just happy to be a Panther."
All three are projects; Taylor is an undersized pass rusher, Schwartz is a mammoth blocker with poor footwork and a bad back and Bernadeau is a small school standout coming off of a torn meniscus in his knee. I'd look for all three of them to land on the Panthers, or someone else's practice squad next year.
Day-2 Draft Overview
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