The Miami Dolphins took Ryan Tannehill at #8, after the Texas A&M quarterback received 69% of the votes. There are three more picks before the Seahawks are on the board. So far, no defensive lineman have been drafted – an advantage for the Seahawks. Will that change at #9 and Carolina?
#1 Andrew Luck – IND
#2 Robert Griffin III – WAS
#3 Matt Kalil – MIN
#4 Trent Richardson – CLE
#5 Morris Claiborne – TB
#6 Justin Blackmon – STL
#7 Michael Floyd – JAC
#8 Ryan Tannehill – MIA
I’ve opened up the number of options with this pick because it was too difficult to limit it to just four choices. Lucky Panthers.
Ron Rivera is going to use a lot of different looks utilising 4-3 and 3-4 concepts and needs an added presence on the defensive line to improve a struggling unit. In the aftermath of the combine, most people expected Carolina to draft nose tackle Dontari Poe. That expectation has been tempered recently as more and more people look at the tape, but you can’t get away from the upside shown by the Memphis lineman. If the Panthers want to consider a permanent switch to the 3-4 they’ll need a nose tackle.
If Carolina isn’t convinced with Poe, it could be that they target another big, athletic lineman in Fletcher Cox. I prefer Cox as a five-technique but he’s scheme diverse and fits the concept of a hybrid defense. Quinton Coples is equally capable of playing end in the 4-3 and 3-4, while Melvin Ingram is one of the more versatile pass rushers in the class. Courtney Upshaw is also diverse enough and would have to be in contention for the Panthers. Five solid options up front for the team’s biggest area of need.
What about elsewhere? They could stay local and consider a cornerback like Stephon Gilmore. I’m not a huge fan personally, but his combination of size/speed is en vogue (largely thanks to Pete Carroll) and corner is a significant need for Carolina. Luke Kuechly will dazzle some teams and underwhelm others, but he could go anywhere from the top ten to the bottom of round one.
So who are you going for?