BBR This Morning: The Draft’s Here Already? What the Panthers Will Do (Maybe)

Bill Voth2014 Draft, News50 Comments

BCS National Championship - Florida State v Auburn

Let’s begin with a final answer to something I’ve been asked countless times over the last couple months.

The question: Who will the Panthers take in the first round of this year’s draft?

The answer: I don’t know.

I do know a post without predictions and/or #HOTTAKES won’t get a bunch of shares or retweets, but as a man who used to work in Charlotte said a time or two, “It is what it is.”

And what it is on the morning of the draft’s first round is essentially a guessing game if you’re trying to figure out what the Panthers will do. It’d be disingenuous for me or anyone outside a handful of people in the building to even pretend they have this one nailed down.

After a seemingly interminable wait for the draft to get here, I wish I could report who general manager Dave Gettleman is set on. But gleaning that sort of information has been much tougher this year for a number of reasons. The biggest: A team drafting way back at No. 28 won’t have a great sense of what they’re going to do until at least 15 picks have been called, so how could we?

It’s been easier to get a beat on players the Panthers don’t like. For example, it’s highly unlikely offensive tackles Cyrus Kouandjio or Morgan Moses will end up in Carolina. But there’s one hint of information so surprising, it makes me think it may point to the right guy.

Let’s break things down into three categories:


BEST GUESS – Kelvin Benjamin. Yeah, I can’t believe it either. To be clear, he may be my favorite player in this draft. That’s also reason No. 3,493 I wouldn’t make for a good NFL GM. I’ve long had a thing for tall receivers. Just toss them the ball and they’ll go get it. Obviously, it’s not that simple, and it’s certainly not with Benjamin. He has plenty of concerns swirling around him, but from what I’ve heard, the Panthers are truly interested. If that’s the case, if Gettleman thinks enough of him to eschew the possible red flags, that means there’s legitimate fire around the smoke.

WHAT THE PANTHERS SHOULD DO – Trade out of the first round. Many assume fans will be most disappointed if the Panthers don’t take a receiver in the first. It’ll be even worse if they don’t even use their pick. But while a player at 28 may end up being a key piece, the odds of him being a true game-changer aren’t great. The Panthers need pieces. Multiple. They’re not just building for 2014, but for three to five years down the road as well. One of Gettleman’s goals is to find starters in the first three rounds. The more chances he has in those rounds, the more building blocks he can possibly add.

WHAT THE PANTHERS WILL DO

Something not many expected. What’s that? Exactly. If folks outside the Carolinas have talked about the Panthers this offseason, it’s been to mock them. Most can’t understand why Gettleman would dismantle his receiving corps, even though those who can’t, don’t understand that receiving corps wasn’t going to get the Panthers where they want to go. But shoot, you can swing a cat and find a good wideout in this draft. There’s also the matter of an offensive line that may be more gate than wall. Yet while most fans have already made their decision on Byron Bell, how can we be sure anyone in the second wave of tackles is going to be that much better? So the Panthers could end up doing something not many expected. It’s not just lip service when Gettleman swears he’s going to take the best player available. That player may be a defensive end, a cornerback, a safety or even a guy like Xavier Su’a-Filo. Yup, a guard. No one would see it coming, but that’s because it’s so easy to focus on need. What’s not easy is doing something few expected you to do, something that won’t thrill your fan base. Gettleman’s already proven this offseason that he won’t make decisions based on fan sentiment. He could very well do it again.


BBR Nuggets:


Coming Up:

  • A league source tells us the NFL Draft starts Thursday. We’ll likely do a few things around it.

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About the Author

Bill Voth

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Black And Blue Review founder, Panthers reporter for The SportsXchange, Fill-in host at the ACC Digital Network, Davidson basketball television play-by-play, Spiracle Media cofounder.

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50 comments
bestsportnascar
bestsportnascar

@BlackBlueReview I like Kelvin. Many WR videos is the guy catching it wide open. Watched a few vids with him and it was well defended

ZachyB
ZachyB

I like the idea of trading out of the 1st round for additional draft picks!  Mike Mayock had the same thought.  Give Gettleman another 2nd or 3rd rounder, he could do some damage in this draft.  If all the projected WRs and OTs are gone by #28, pull the trigger.  I think the steals at WR for this draft are going to be Jordan Matthews and Donte Moncrief and they should be there in the 2nd round!  I think Benjamin is a too much of a project to make an immediate impact.  The whole OL needs a makeover minus Kalil, but I agree that there is no promising prospects besides Guards beyond the top 3 Tackles....

wrd9090
wrd9090

@Jkleckley I want a receiver gettleman better make me happy some round haha

KissMyConverse
KissMyConverse

To me... just get a multi year starter. Don't care what position.

OptimusPrime52
OptimusPrime52

@billvoth KB's 4th highest yardage in college is 77 at 23 yrs old. I can't feel good about him no matter how much I want to.

danism28
danism28

@billvoth everyone is saying that 28 will net a 2 and 4rd pick. Call me crazy, but were not gaining anything in 1-3 to make a trade worth it

mario_clp
mario_clp

@billvoth what you make of Benjamin interest vs DG comments about 1st rd WR running full route tree/contributing from Day 1 ala Maclin?

JeffFischel
JeffFischel

@billvoth your answer starts with, "i don't know and they probably don't know either," right? (about to click to check my predictive powers)

Jkleckley
Jkleckley

@wrd9090 I like that he said he doesn't see us getting either of the two tackles, I'm not big on either

billvoth
billvoth

@mario_clp well, how many WRs can? I think that was more of DG's point. Nearly all need work.

Realville_Mayor
Realville_Mayor

@BlackBlueReview absolutely Over the past week I've made up my mind that DG will go somewhere on Defense or trade out. O pick would surprise

wrd9090
wrd9090

@Jkleckley agreed and gettleman doesn't get a guy he's not really high on he will draft a really good player at another position b4 reaching

JeffFischel
JeffFischel

@billvoth ha. your best guess is an interesting one. i'm risk averse, so i'd pass.. but that's also why i wouldn't be a good GM.

MMA_PITBULL
MMA_PITBULL

@billvoth may be alone but id rather see Saints take cooks over Benjamin. Who in our secondary can handle that ? Graham +Benjamin....damn

MMA_PITBULL
MMA_PITBULL

@billvoth Was watching Mayock last night....Had the Saints taking Benjamin. Id cry. Dont get him and then have to defend him. Nightmare

billvoth
billvoth

@JeffFischel alternative: getting your team back. (looks around, sees browns shirt, starts weeping)

JeffFischel
JeffFischel

@billvoth the team in L.A. (looks around) i end up rooting for the guys on my fantasy team, UCLA guys & ACC guys I've met whom I like

JeffFischel
JeffFischel

@billvoth your best idea: trade down... especially if carr of bridgewater are still there.

JeffFischel
JeffFischel

@billvoth yeah i love the XSF idea. he just needs 1 more year post-mission to get his body in NFL shape. he'll be a solid starting G.