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NFL Carolina Panthers

Grading the Carolina Panthers’ 2014 Draft Picks

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Grading the Carolina Panthers' 2014 Draft Picks

Kelvin Benjamin
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After earning the No. 2 seed in the playoffs last season, it was important for the Carolina Panthers to have a successful draft day in order to keep momentum in the NFC South. Going into the draft they had obvious needs at the wide receiver, on the offensive line and in the secondary. Here are the grades for the Panthers' 2014 draft picks.

6. Round 6, Pick 204: RB Tyler Gaffney

Stanford v USC
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6. Round 6, Pick 204: RB Tyler Gaffney

Stanford v USC
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Many experts had Gaffney as a 4th round talent, so this may be good value. Graffney runs hard and is very physical. He's well built and gains extra yardage with his toughness. The running back can also catch passes out of the backfield, making him a solid pick here for Carolina.

Grade: A-

5. Round 5, Pick 148: CB Bene Benwikere

San Jose State v Stanford
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5. Round 5, Pick 148: CB Bene Benwikere

San Jose State v Stanford
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Benwikere has decent size for a corner and is a fluid athlete. However, he's raw and is not ready to contribute in the NFL just yet. Perhaps CB Shaquille Richardson would have been a safer pick here, or maybe another offensive lineman would have been appropriate.

Grade: D

4. Round 4, Pick 128: S Tre Boston

Georgia Tech v North Carolina
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4. Round 4, Pick 128: S Tre Boston

Georgia Tech v North Carolina
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Boston brings intensity and leadership to the field. He's physical and has a lot of potential to be a significant part of the Panthers' secondary in the future. The UNC product does not have great instincts and needs to develop, but he can contribute right away on special teams. Overall, this is not a bad pick for the fourth round.

Grade: B-

3. Round 3, Pick 92: OG Trai Turner

Texas A&M v LSU
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3. Round 3, Pick 92: OG Trai Turner

Texas A&M v LSU
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The Panthers clearly needed offensive line help, but they need a tackle not a guard. Nonetheless, Turner is a strong, enticing prospect with a lot of power. He'll make the offensive line a little bit better than last year.

Grade: C+

2. Round 2, Pick 60: DE Kony Ealy

Florida v Missouri
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2. Round 2, Pick 60: DE Kony Ealy

Florida v Missouri
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The Panthers' defensive line was one of the best in the NFL last year. A defensive lineman was not a need in the draft, but you can never have enough pass rushers. Most experts had this kid as an early first-round pick, so he was simply too intriguing to pass up. He's quick, explosive and has a huge upside. Ealy in the late-second round is a terrific pick and makes Carolina's defensive front even scarier.

Grade: A

1. Round 1, Pick 29: WR Kelvin Benjamin

BCS National Championship - Florida State v Auburn
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1. Round 1, Pick 29: WR Kelvin Benjamin

BCS National Championship - Florida State v Auburn
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Benjamin may have a huge upside, but he is far from a finished product. At 6-foot-5, he could be something special, but he is a low-risk, high-reward type prospect. Since Carolina's receiving corps is in shambles, the Panthers should have targeted more of a "plug-and-play" receiver like Marqise Lee, who was available. Lee is a sure thing and could be a No. 1 receiver in the next year or so. Benjamin is intriguing, but not ready yet.

Grade: C+