The Carolina Panthers are coming off a great season. The team posted a 12-4 record, winning the NFC South and earning a first-round bye in the playoffs. But they were hit hard in free agency and now have an uphill battle to fill enough holes to repeat as NFC South champs.
Carolina has their franchise quarterback in place with Cam Newton, but now they have to surround him with the necessary talent to be successful. Many mock drafts have the Panthers going offensive tackle with their first-round pick. There certainly is an argument to be made, but one player who could be worth a reach is former LSU Tigers wide receiver Jarvis Landry.
Landry was the third-leading receiver in the nation’s best college football conference. He finished with the second most touchdowns in the SEC and holds a career YPC average of 13.2. He has the resume of a big-time wide receiver.
He has the physical tools as well. He stands at over 6-feet, almost 200-pounds, and made up for his slow combine 40-yard-dash time at LSU’s Pro Day turning in a time under 4.6 seconds.
All the measurements and the pre-draft hoopla can’t measure what is already on tape. Landry is a top-shelf talent and has proved himself against the best of the best. No amount of tests and workouts can overshadow what he accomplished on Saturdays in Baton Rouge.
He’s one of only 15 receivers in the last six years to have gone over the 1,000-yard mark in the SEC. Some of the other names in that club include Julio Jones, Alshon Jeffery and Randall Cobb. That’s pretty good company and something the Panthers should note.
Reaching double-digit numbers in touchdowns is even more rare over the last six years, with only ten guys reaching that mark. Landry is one of those ten. The on-field production speaks for itself.
There is no doubt that the top talents at wide receiver are Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans. Unless Carolina wants to trade up into the top ten, neither of those guys will be there when their pick rolls around. They have a real need for a No. 1 WR and will need to look at the next crop to fill it.
Landry may well be the best of the rest. Most mocks don’t have him going in the first-round, but that doesn’t mean his talent isn’t worthy of it. He will most likely be there when the Panthers pick, and he probably won’t be around by the end of the second round.
An argument could be made for many players where Carolina is drafting, especially with a team in such need of offensive line and wide receiver help. An offensive tackle could be a great pick, but taking a risk on Landry certainly wouldn’t be the worst move.
If the Panthers chose to roll the dice, they may just find their big-play, outside threat to replace Steve Smith for the next decade.