NFL Carolina Panthers

2014 NFL Draft: Carolina Panthers’ Early Seven-Round Mock

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Carolina Panthers' Seven-Round Mock

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While the 8-3 Carolina Panthers have enjoyed a surprisingly-successful 2013 campaign, it’s never too early to start looking towards the offseason and the upcoming 2014 NFL Draft. There are numerous areas they must improve in, and there won’t be a better opportunity to get better than the draft.

Of those areas needing improvement, one of the biggest concerns is cornerback. Both Drayton Florence and Captain Munnerlyn are slated to be free agents in 2014, which could leave the Panthers with a severely depleted cornerback depth chart. Even if Munnerlyn does return, adding some young blood at the position certainly couldn’t hurt – especially in today’s pass-heavy NFL. The 2014 class is full of cornerback talent, so going for one early makes sense.

Despite their need at cornerback, the Panthers still have other questions in need of answers. A couple of their offensive tackles are headed for free agency as well, which could force Carolina to bolster the position via the draft. Wide receiver is also a significant concern with several players set to be free agents and a lack of consistency from the spot. Outside linebacker will also need some extra depth moving forward.

Either way, the Panthers need to make the most of their draft picks in May. The 2014 NFL Draft will offer Carolina an opportunity to upgrade their roster while addressing the problems that have cropped up during the season.

With that in mind, here’s a look at what the Panthers could choose to do with their seven current draft picks when the 2014 NFL Draft finally rolls around.

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1st Round: Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State

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With two of their top four cornerbacks headed for free agency this upcoming offseason, the Panthers are going to need some help at the position. Dennard is a sensational prospect with the physicality you rarely see at cornerback. He’s never afraid to step up against the run, excels in man coverage and makes exceptional plays on the ball. The Panthers’ defense plays with a hard-nosed, aggressive style and Dennard is a perfect fit.

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2nd Round: Brandon Coleman, WR, Rutgers

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With both Brandon LaFell and Domenik Hixon set to become free agents, the Panthers could soon have a glaring hole at receiver. Steve Smith can fill the sparkplug role, which means they’ll still need a big, physical receiver who can make plays with his size. The 6’5’’ Coleman seems to fit the bill. While there are still some concerns about his playmaking ability and reliability of his hands, Coleman definitely has the size and productivity to warrant a second-round pick.

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3rd Round: Morgan Moses, OT, Virginia

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Heading into the offseason, the tackle spot could soon be an issue. The Panthers have a couple players heading to free agency, and haven’t gotten the greatest play from the spot this season. Taking a shot on a player like Moses might be a smart move. Measuring in at 6’6’’, 325 pounds, Moses is a physically imposing player with the size/strength combo to be a terrific tackle at the next level. His technique needs a lot of work, but the potential is there for him to start at either tackle spot for Carolina.

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4th Round: Robert Herron, WR, Wyoming

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Even with Smith aboard, the Panthers might still be searching for some extra homerun hitters to help elevate their offense to the next level in 2014. Herron is the type of player with the talent to go the distance on every play. A bit smaller than ideal, the speedy wide receiver has the explosiveness and agility to make defenses pay down the field. If the Panthers are interested in injecting some extra excitement into their offense, Herron makes plenty of sense.

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5th Round: Christian Kirksey, OLB, Iowa

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Carolina is currently set at outside linebacker with Thomas Davis and A.J. Klein, but their depth could be an issue this offseason. They’ll need to add another player to the mix to help counteract the potential free agency losses. Kirksey is a tremendous athlete with the potential to develop into a quality NFL linebacker. While he doesn’t offer much in terms of pass rush ability, he’s an outstanding cover man and constantly makes plays with his athleticism and read-and-react skills.

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6th Round: Jabari Price, CB, North Carolina

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With the aforementioned cornerbacks headed for free agency in 2014, the Panthers might just decide to bolster the position more than once via the draft. Dennard is already on board, but Carolina would be wise to pick up another young cover man. Price has plenty of promise, but has yet to realize all of it. With a good size/speed combo and good footwork in coverage, the potential is there for him to develop into a reliable cornerback. His instincts and aggressiveness, though, will need a boost at the next level.

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7th Round (via NYG): Kenny Guiton, QB, Ohio State

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With Derek Anderson being the only backup quarterback on their roster, the Panthers might be interested in adding a young project. A true sleeper in this year’s crop of quarterbacks, Guiton has the potential to become an outstanding passer with a couple more years of coaching and experience. He possesses a terrific arm, impressive athleticism and the smarts to excel in an NFL offense. Guiton spent his entire career at Ohio State playing second fiddle, but might get an opportunity to shine in due time.

Gil Alcaraz IV is the Content Planner for Follow him on Twitter @GilAlcarazIV, like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.