NFL Carolina Panthers

2013 NFL Mock Draft: Carolina Panthers Mock Draft Third Edition

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2013 NFL Mock Draft: Carolina Panthers Mock Draft Third Edition

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

For the third installment of the Carolina Panthers Mock, we will look at five more players the Panthers would benefit from securing. As we have discussed over the last several weeks, Carolina is in a tough situation, with very little cap space, and a limited number of picks in this year’s NFL Draft. The presence of a big time player like Cam Newton makes it mandatory for the Panthers to evolve into a winning team, but the path ahead is by no means easy.

Newton had a rough start last season, but a change in the offensive strategy may have been the cause. During those times, the searing glare of media attention pried through Newton’s emotional armor, and his heart and mental toughness were suddenly called into question. It was a rough start for the second year quarterback, but he bounced back and reaffirmed himself as a superstar on the rise.

The media and public outcry during the start of the Panthers season is worth pointing out again, as it shows how impatient they are for a winning franchise. Newton is held to a higher standard, and with his skill set, he most definitely should be. If he is not beaten down and broken by the constant pressure, he will become the most dangerous offensive threat in the entire league.

In order for this to become a reality, Newton needs help around him. He needs to be able to trust the people on the field with him. He can be the answer the fans in Carolina need, but the front office will have to do its part to make this happen.

The following pages represent the third edition mock draft for the Carolina Panthers. Take a look and see what you think. If you disagree, or have another suggestion, please feel free to leave a comment in the area provided below, or reach out to us on twitter using the hash tag #RML, for Rant My Life.

Jeff Everette is a Miami Dolphins writer for Follow him on twitter @jeverettesports, “Like” his page on Facebook, or add him to your network on Google+.

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Round One, Pick 14: Jonathan Cooper, OG

Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

At 6-3 and 295, Jonathan Cooper is a large specimen of a man, and he has a talent for keeping members of a defensive front seven away from his running backs and quarterback. It is an extremely handy talent to have, especially as an offensive guard entering the NFL Draft. For the Carolina Panthers, he represents a much-needed boost to their offensive game plan.

Using the 14th overall selection to take Cooper comes off as bland and as far from sexy as it gets, but it would be a smart move for the Panthers, who desperately need an upgrade at the position. Taking Cooper here gives them a player who is extremely versatile and can be used in either guard position, or as a center. Not only could he play those positions, he would be the starter from day one.

Last season at North Carolina, Cooper was part of a run game that averaged 193.8 yards per game, and he is equally as tough against the pass rush. He is strong, registering 35 reps off 225, but he can be bulled back by bigger defensive tackles if he gets out of position.

Whether it is sexy or not, by selecting Cooper at 14, the Panthers get a future Pro Bowl lineman who will help the sputtering Carolina run game get back on track. His pass blocking ability can be looked at as a bonus that will give Newton a better chance to make the play. This is exactly what the Panthers need if they want to get the most out of the offensive pieces they already have.

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Round Two, Pick 44: Jordan Poyer, CB

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One thing has remained constant in every edition of the Carolina Panthers Mock has been the selection of a cornerback in the second round. There is a nice amount of depth and talent at the position in this year’s draft and a second round pick still gives the team a number one caliber corner, capable of starting in week one. This is exactly what the Panthers would get with Jordan Poyer.

Poyer does not come without his drawbacks. At 6-0 and 190, he is a bit light to make every NFL scout happy, and there are questions concerning his discipline. He has a tendency to give up the underneath routes, and will risk getting caught with his eyes in the backfield. He is a solid tackler, and likes to make the big hit. He plays tough coverage and despite posting a 4.54 40-yard dash at the combine, the tape shows he has great speed, and an explosive burst on the ball.

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Round Four, Pick 108: JJ Wilcox, SS

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The Panthers need help at all levels of their secondary, but if they shore those positions up, they would have one of the best defenses in the entire NFL. With this in mind, Carolina selects JJ Wilcox, an exciting young man with unbelievable upside. He has the perfect body type for the position, standing 6-0 and checking in at 215 pounds. He is a solid hitter, and is strong in coverage. He has great hands and has shown good instincts.

On the down side, he has only played the position for one full season, and as a result, he has plenty of room to improve when it comes to technique. He is a bit of a project, but getting him in the fourth round with the potential of having him start in the fall, the selection is well worth it.

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Round Five, pick 148: Cobi Hamilton WR

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The Panthers just added Domenik Hixon this past week, but the Panthers simply have to have a receiver capable of complimenting Steve Smith, while giving Newton a consistent threat down the field. For that reason, Carolina takes Cobi Hamilton in the fifth round.

Hamilton has a talent for catching the ball on the run and making a play as he goes. He was the top wideout at Arkansas, showing good speed, and a fluidity to his movements that helps him break cleanly to the inside or out. He has good hands and at 6-2, 212, he has enough size to make toss ups interesting.

While he has good speed, it is not great. He may have trouble getting open deep, something the Panthers would most certainly expect from him. His aggressiveness will need to be addressed, but with the right tweaks, Hamilton could become a steal at this point in the draft.

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Round Six, Pick 182: Montori Hughes, DT

Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

In this edition of the Panthers Mock Draft, Carolina has defensive tackle Montori Hughes fall to them at 182. This is not on a whim, but due to character issues he displayed on several occasions over his college career. Each team passed on Hughes due to the depth in this draft and now the Panthers solidify their defensive line completing the re-build and strengthening of a fierce defense.

Hughes has great size to him checking in at 6-4 and 330 pounds. He will be a challenge for any offensive guard or center that comes between him and the football. He has great agility for a player of his size, and has all of the physical tools to be a disruptive force.

Hughes has the mental questions that were referenced earlier. While he stayed out of trouble with the authorities, it still calls into question his ability to keep it together at the next level. He has room to improve, as do most players of his size and skill set. It is common for a bigger player to rely on strength instead of perfecting technique, but it is an issue that can be corrected, and if Hughes can keep his head in the game, he can be the disruptive force in the middle of the Panthers D-line that would put this defense over the top.