By Andrew Schuster @ShootsMcGavin on May 3, 2014
The Carolina Panthers are looking to defend their title as NFC South Champions and a strong draft would be the first step in doing that. Since the May 8 kickoff to the 2014 NFL Draft is just around the corner, let's take a look at the latest rumors surrounding Coach Ron Rivera's team.
32 NFL greats will be announcing their team's second round pick in the upcoming draft and the Panthers have chosen former WR Mark Carrier to be their guy. Carrier started his career in Tampa Bay, went on to join Cleveland and then was selected by the Panthers in the 1995 expansion draft.
It's rumored that Northern Illinois safety Jimmie Ward visited a number of teams earlier this week, including the Carolina Panthers. Ward underwent a recent foot surgery that forced him to miss out on the NFL Scouting Combine. However, after being cleared to run, it looks like the Panthers wanted to get some one-on-one time with young talent.
TCU cornerback Jason Verrett said that he would be a great fit for the Panthers to replace Captain Munnerlyn. He is undersized at 5-foot-9, but so is Munnerlyn at 5-foot-8. Verrett recently stated that smaller Pro Bowl-caliber guys like Munnerlyn, Brent Grimes and Tryann Mathieu all motivate him even more to make plays on the field.
Supposedly, the Panthers are expressing a strong interest towards Oregon State WR Brandin Cooks. That comes of no surprise after the team parted ways with Steve Smith, Brandon Lafell and Ted Ginn Jr. all during the 2014 offseason. If Cooks fell into the Panthers' lap come draft day, grabbing him would be an ideal move.
There is some speculation that the Panthers may be interested in trading up in the draft to jump ahead of division rival New Orleans Saints. Both teams have similar needs at the cornerback and wide receiver positions, and the Saints just happen to be one pick ahead of Carolina.
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