By Nick Richardson @NickSonofDave on June 24, 2014
Coming off of a surprising 12-4 season and an NFC South title, the Carolina Panthers enter the 2014 season with very high expectations. They’ve had a bit of a bumpy offseason, however, so it will be important that they get contributions from their rookie class. Here are some modest predictions for each one of the Panthers’ 2014 draft picks.
For the first time since 2000, the Panthers’ receiving corps will be without franchise icon Steve Smith. Carolina also lost Brandon LaFell, Ted Ginn and Domenik Hixon. Therefore, it will be imperative for Benjamin to make an immediate impact. The former Florida State standout will likely start the season as Carolina’s No. 1 wide receiver. While very raw, Benjamin certainly has plenty of talent.
Ealy enters a very desirable situation in Carolina. The Panthers have one of the best defensive lines in the NFL, led by studs Greg Hardy, Charles Johnson and Star Lotulelei, so Ealy will not be asked to do too much right away. That said, Ealy was given a first-round grade by many experts, and if he finds some consistency, he could end up being a steal.
The Panthers have some questions along their offensive line, so it wouldn’t be a shock if Turner saw some key minutes as a rookie. Like Kelvin Benjamin, Turner is a bit raw, as many people were surprised that he decided to enter the draft early. However, he has natural upside and could wind up as an important piece in the Panthers’ offense.
While Carolina’s secondary played pretty well last season, they needed an influx of talent this offseason, and Boston was the first of two defensive backs the Panthers selected in 2014. He might not be ready to play on defense right away, but Boston’s energy and athleticism could land him a spot on the Panthers’ special teams unit.
While he comes from a fairly small program in San Jose State, Benwikere is no stranger to matching up against big-time receivers; he was a high school teammate of former USC Trojans and current NFL players Marqise Lee and Robert Woods. Despite his interesting background, it is unlikely that the fifth-round pick will see much playing time in 2014.
While not particularly quick or agile, Gaffney is a very tough runner who will endear himself to Panthers fans if given the chance. It will be interesting to see when that might happen. DeAngelo Williams is a solid, yet unspectacular starter, so there will be touches to be had behind him. Gaffney will have to fight hard to see those touches, though.
September 3, 2015 by Nik Zirounis
Here are five things to watch when the Miami Dolphins host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the preseason finale. Read More
September 3, 2015 by Troy Becker
With three preseason games in the books, it is the players last chance to impress the coaching staff. Here are 10 guys on the roster bubble heading into the Eagles' last preseason game. Read More
September 3, 2015 by Brad Berreman
RB Fred Jackson was arguably the league's most surprising cut ahead of Tuesday's deadline for teams to team to down to 75 players. Here's why he's a great fit for the New England Patriots. Read More
September 3, 2015 by Andrew Frosceno
Five dark horse candidates who may surprise people by making the 53-man roster. Read More
September 2, 2015 by Gil Alcaraz IV
The Oakland Raiders and Seattle Seahawks are looking to end their 2015 preseasons on a positive note. Read More
September 2, 2015 by Ben Vasconcellos
Jay Gruden should have held an open quarterback competition. Read More
September 2, 2015 by Doug Green
Two Philadelphia Eagles, Bryan Braman and Kenjon Barner, are each being fined by the NFL for illegal hits in last week's game. Read on to find out why it's utterly ridiculous. Read More
September 2, 2015 by Ryan Quigley
The New York Jets and Philadelphia Eagles will face off in Week 4 of the NFL preseason Thursday night. Here's what to keep an eye on. Read More