We continue motoring along in the 2018 Daily Norseman Community Mock Draft, as we’ve reached the three-quarter pole of the first round. Let’s run back through how the past five picks have gone.
19. Dallas Cowboys - Courtland Sutton, WR, Southern Methodist
20. Detroit Lions - Maurice Hurst, DT, Michigan
22. Buffalo Bills (from Kansas City Chiefs) - Leighton Vander Esch, LB, Boise State
Now, we come to the Carolina Panthers with the 24th pick in the first round. The Panthers had a solid season and came close to a playoff victory this past season, but they do have plenty of questions that need answering. Let’s take a look at them.
2017 record: 11-5 (second place, NFC South)
CB Ross Cockrell (free agent signing), OL Jeremiah Sirles (free agent signing), DT Dontari Poe (free agent signing), S Da’Norris Searcy (free agent signing), WR Torrey Smith (acquired via trade with Philadelphia), WR Jarius Wright (free agent signing)
S Kurt Coleman (signed with New Orleans), TE Ed Dickson (signed with Seattle), DE Charles Johnson (free agent), DT Star Lotulelei (signed with Buffalo), G Andrew Norwell (signed with Jacksonville)
Cornerback - James Bradberry has shown plenty of promise for the Panthers at one corner spot, but the Panthers traded away Daryl Worley to acquire Torrey Smith. (Worley has already been cut by the Eagles, despite his best efforts to fit into the Philadelphia community.) However, that leaves a hole for the team at corner, and they certainly need depth at the position.
Defensive end - Julius Peppers continues to produce at the spritely young age of 206, but you figure he’s going to slow down eventually. Mario Addison had a very good season, tying Peppers for the team lead in sacks, but this is a position the Panthers still need to look at addressing due to Peppers’ age.
Offensive line - The Panthers lost guard Andrew Norwell, who signed a big-time contract with Jacksonville. They still employ Matt Kalil, which might be even worse. Matt’s brother Ryan, aka “The Good Kalil,” is in the last year of his deal as well, and might need to be replaced sooner rather than later.
Safety - The team’s best remaining safety, Mike Adams, is 37 years old, and Kurt Coleman is no longer with the team, either. That means they definitely need help at safety, whether it’s a center field type or an in the box type of safety.
Marcus Davenport, DE, Texas-San Antonio - Davenport is a player that is definitely going to need some time to develop, as he played his college ball at a smaller school. Still, he has as much physical talent as any other defensive end in this year’s draft. If the Panthers are looking for a replacement for Peppers that could learn from him for a year or two, Davenport would be a nice fit.
Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa - Jackson exploded onto the scene this past season, leading all of FBS with eight interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns. Given that he only started for one year at corner for the Hawkeyes, he clearly hasn’t reached his ceiling yet, and could provide a boost to a Panthers’ secondary that needs depth.
Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama - With Minkah Fitzpatrick and Derwin James off the board, Harrison is the next guy up at the safety spot. Harrison draws plenty of comparisons to another Alabama safety, Landon Collins, and is at his best when he’s able to attack downhill. With the Panthers’ need at safety, he’s certainly a viable option here.
Kolton Miller, OT, California-Los Angeles - After the gnashing of teeth and rending of garments that resulted from putting Orlando Brown as a draftable option, we’ll put Miller here instead. He projects as a left tackle, but could start out on the other side until the Panthers come to the realization that Matt Kalil is awful. I mean, if they haven’t already.
Billy Price, C, Ohio State - Price, who followed in Pat Elflein’s footsteps in winning the Rimington Award (given to college football’s best center), has been told that he will definitely be recovered from his pectoral injury by Training Camp, which is great news for him. Price could start out at guard for the Panthers, and if Ryan Kalil chooses to hang it up after this season, he could slide over to occupy the center spot.
That’s all for the Panthers, folks. Tomorrow we move back over to the AFC, as the Tennessee Titans will be on the board at #25.
With the twenty-fourth pick in the 2018 Daily Norseman Community Mock Draft, the Carolina Panthers (should) select ____________
This poll is closed
Marcus Davenport, DE, UT-SA
Joshua Jackson, CB, Iowa
Ronnie Harrison, S, Alabama
Kolton Miller, OT, UCLA
Billy Price, C, Ohio State