By Chris Ross @DraftScout_NFL on April 21, 2014
This offseason certainly hasn't gone as well as the Carolina Panthers hoped. Between the retirement of left tackle Jordan Gross, the release of star receiver Steve Smith, and the amount of talent that has left this offseason, things could have gone better for the Panthers. That said, due to this offseason, the 2014 NFL Draft becomes even more important. Ladies and gentlemen, here is a late-April, Carolina Panthers seven-round mock draft.
A left tackle should be the Panthers' highest draft priority, as the retirement of Jordan Gross put the team in a tough position. Cyrus Kouandjio’s draft stock has fallen off a bit due to injury concerns, however, there is still no doubting that when he is healthy, Kouandjio is among the most well-rounded linemen in this draft class. He may slide on draft day, but the Panthers won’t complain.
With the release of veteran receiver Steve Smith, a huge hole at the wide receiver position was opened. Martavis Bryant, a long 6-foot-4 target, has the potential to fill the void left behind by Smith. Bryant needs to add bulk to his lean frame, but it’s obvious he has the potential to become a great receiver.
That’s right. A receiver in back-to-back picks! Devin Street is a well-rounded athlete, who was Pittsburgh’s top receiver over the past couple seasons. He may lack elite speed. However, Street has the potential to become a reliable NFL receiver.
Despite picking up Kouandjio earlier, the Panthers still need plenty of help along their offensive line. Michael Schofield is a versatile lineman, and is a great value in the fourth round.
In the fifth round, Louchiez Purifoy is an absolute steal. Purifoy is likely due for a draft slide due to increasing off-field concerns. However, he has the natural talent and physical attributes to develop into a solid starter.
John Urschel fills a need for the Panthers, and is a nice value in the sixth round. More of a run-blocker than anything else, Urschel is just what the Panthers need to complete their offensive-line make-over.
Although the team currently has both Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson as defensive ends, the depth behind those two is questionable. Michael Sam made news by announcing that he is gay before the NFL combine, however, it’s his on-field production that should intrigue teams. He might never be a true starter, but Sam could make it as a situational pass-rusher.
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