NFL Draft 2012: Panthers Want Justin Blackmon If He Falls, According To Report

The first day of the 2012 NFL Draft arrives on Thursday and anticipation is at a fever pitch among fans of football at both the collegiate and professional levels. There is no end to speculation of which draftees will land where and the guessing will continue right up until every name has been called. Some of the game plans and strategies are beginning to trickle out on Thursday, however.

The Carolina Panthers are looking to build a solid defense to accompany their Cam Newton-led offense, but their plan to stock up on defenders would be put on hold should Oklahoma St. Cowboys wide receiver Justin Blackmon still be on the board when Carolina's No. 9 pick rolls around. Joseph Person of the Charlotte Observer reports:

Most draft experts don't see Blackmon sliding past St. Louis at No. 6. But if Blackmon were to slip to 9, where the Panthers pick after losing a coin flip to Miami, look for general manager Marty Hurney to grab him and worry about the defense in subsequent rounds.

Person goes on to say that if the Panthers remain at No. 9 (Hurney has not ruled out a trade back in the order for the right package), they may instead target North Carolina Tar Heels defensive end Quinton Coples.

For all news and information regarding the Carolina Panthers, please visit Cat Scratch Reader. For lots more on the 2012 NFL Draft, you can check out Mocking the Draft.

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