Pre-mock thoughts & Tuesday links

I will publish an updated mock draft tomorrow – and I’m contemplating a change at the top. The lack of an obvious #1 overall pick makes it a weekly chore to project what Carolina are going to do.

As you’ll see in the links listed below, the Panthers front office are acknowledging they need a quarterback. We’ve become used to the top QB – even if they aren’t necessarily the top talent – going first overall most years. The presence of Jimmy Clausen clouds things slightly but for me he’s never going to be a productive starting quarterback in the NFL.

I suppose you could ask – do you feel confident Blaine Gabbert will be? Or Cam Newton?

I haven’t decided what I’ll do with the latest projection yet but there’s no obvious answer. Nick Fairley is the favorite right now – but I’m not convinced. The Panthers need a defensive tackle but do they draft Fairley #1 with so much depth at the position? I also wonder whether growing character concerns and only one year’s production (where was Fairley in 2009?) will be enough to force Carolina elsewhere.

I’m a big fan of Da’Quan Bowers’ potential and feel similarly positive about AJ Green and Patrick Peterson. First overall pick material? Again I’m not convinced.

The Panthers need to do their homework on the best quarterbacks and ask themselves – can we win with this guy? Can he be the franchise for the next ten or so years? If the answer is yes – that has to be the pick for me.

It could have a trickle down effect even as far as Seattle at #25. The Seahawks should be looking to draft a quarterback and an early rush on the position will make it difficult without a significant move up the boards. The CBA situation could dictate that a rush will occur because teams are unlikely to have alternative means of adding a QB before April’s event.

But if the quarterbacks go early it also strengthens the possibility of other prospects dropping too. Even so – you don’t realise how far down the board #25 is until you compile a mock or sit there watching highly talented prospects leaving the board in the late teens. I remember watching the 2008 draft when the Seahawks last had the #25 pick and thinking ‘if only we were a few places higher’. At the time I was hoping for running backs Chris Johnson or Rashard Mendenhall – both left the board just before Seattle’s pick.

Of course that year Seattle could easily have chosen to move up a few places. They didn’t in round one – and actually moved down to take Lawrence Jackson. In round two – they made a major move up the board to select John Carlson. Baltimore – having already moved around to draft Joe Flacco – were able to acquire Ray Rice with the pick collected from the Seahawks.

Moving up or down the board is something I’ll look into more as we get closer to the draft.

Tuesday’s draft links

Joseph Person has a story quoting Panthers GM Marty Hurney. On the prospect of drafting a quarterback first overall, Hurney: “That’s the No.1 need. I think we have good players. It all starts with solidifying that spot. That’s something that everybody in the league would agree with.”

Wes Bunting of the National Football Post is at the Texas vs Nation work outs this week. He has some positive feedback on Hampton defensive tackle Kenrick Ellis in tweets here and here. Bunting: “DT Kenrick Ellis is a powerful guy, plays low, raw but not much separating him from Phil Taylor.”

Dan Kadar from Mocking the Draft wonders whether Von Miller’s recent stock rise is down to the success of Packers OLB Clay Matthews. Kadar: “Prognosticators are citing Miller’s explosive burst off the snap and a good Senior Bowl week as reasons to push him up. Mel Kiper, for instance, has Miller ranked ninth on his big board. While I plan on moving Miller higher in my top 200 ranking following the Senior Bowl, he won’t break the top 10.”

Steve Muench at Scouts Inc. looks at some of the ‘risers and fallers’ during recent work outs at the Shrine Game and Senior Bowl. On Baylor guard Danny Watkins: “He’s 26 years old, and his age could hurt his stock with some teams, but his ability to contribute early and the fact that he hasn’t reached his potential because of his limited experience should weaken those concerns. Watkins has moved into the late-Day 2 or early-Day 3 conversation.”

Walter Cherepinsky has a new mock draft at Walterfootball. The Seahawks take Miami cornerback Brandon Harris in round one.

Chad Reuter also has a mock draft update at CBS Sportsline. Corey Liuget (DT, Illinois) is Seattle’s pick at #25.

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  1. plyka

    The more i’ve seen of Cam Newton the more I like the kid. If I were the Panthers, I probably would take hiim with my #1 pick. I think for a struggling organization like the Panthers, a DT here or there won’t make much difference. Hitting the jackpot with Freeman like the Bucs did, yes, that does change everything! And Cam Newton reminds me of a far more athletic Freeman, although he may not have Freeman’s decision making (is yet to be seen). Either way, the talent with Newton is undeniable, so you go with him.

    Either that or trade down and stock draft picks, if they are available. The only other individual i would take with the #1 pick is probably Patrick Peterson, due to the importance of the CB position in football and what i see as a incredible talent at that position. That said, CB’s don’t “usually” go that early, so who knows.

    • plyka

      I just remembered that the Panthers had a very good pass defense last year so they may not actually need a CB.

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