Panthers Draft Preview

The Panthers were active this off-season but still have big needs going into the NFL Draft.

Carolina Panthers
2014 draft picks:
1st round (28), 2(60), 3(92), 4(124), 5 (154), 6(188), 7 (192)

Carolina had a heck of a year last season, finishing the 2013 campaign with 12 wins. Ron Riveria was about to be run out of town a year ago but he had the Panthers playing great football last year.

Despite their success on the field Carolina must addresses some major issues of concerns off the field and through the draft. Gone is wide receiver Steve Smith. The Panthers have to re-stock the wide receiver corps and field a left tackle to help protect quarterback Cam Newton. Long time left tackle Jordan Gross has retired.

Team Needs

1. Wide Receiver
Adding free agent wide receivers Jason Avant, Tiquan Underwood, and Jerricho Cotchery was a start in the rebuilding process of this position in Carolina but those guys are role players at best. The Panthers cut ties with Smith. Somewhere, somehow, Carolina must draft at least two playmakers from this draft. They should be in nice position in round one to get a good one. I have mocked Kelvin Benjamin to them three straight times. We will see if he's still available and the actual pick. Fortunately for the Panthers, it's an incredibly deep year at this position. So they can get one early and then again in the middle rounds. Heck, they could go another position in round one and go for their wide receivers a little later.

2. Offensive Tackle
The Panthers have to find a left tackle and a good one at that. They will have a real dilemma on their hands with the first pick because there is a good chance that Cyrus Kouandijo could still be on the board when they are up. Will they go left tackle with their first selection in that scenario, go wide receiver or in a completely different direction? That will be interesting. Whatever Carolina decides, they must find a player at this position.

3. Defensive Backs
The Panthers have a need in the secondary at both cornerback and safety. They did pick up cornerback Antoine Cason and safeties Roman Harper and Thomas Decoud via free agency. Still, they need to draft at least one corner and one safety.

Joe Webb (QB)
Jason Avant (WR)
Tiquan Underwood (WR)
Jerricho Cotchery (WR)
Ed Dickson (TE)
Mike McNeill (TE)
Antoine Cason (CB)
Thomas DeCoud (S)
Roman Harper (S)

No Longer with the Team
Steve Smith (WR)
Ted Ginn (WR)
Domenik Hixon (WR)
Bruce Campbell (OT)
Jeff Byers (OG)
Geoff Hangartner (OG)
Jordan Gross (OT)
Jordan Senn (OLB)
Captain Munnerlyn (CB)
Michael Mitchell (S)

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