2013 NFL mock draft: Lane Johnson to Carolina Panthers

Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

The Panthers forego bigger needs to protect Cam Newton's blind side for the foreseeable future.

Jordan Gross was drafted No. 8 overall by the Carolina Panthers in the 2003 NFL Draft. In his excellent ten-year career, he's missed just nine starts, made two Pro Bowl appearances and has a first-team All-Pro selection under his belt. Even though he'll be turning 33 this summer, he's still playing at a high level, and left tackle is clearly not the Panthers' top need entering the 2013 NFL Draft. Drafting his eventual replacement, however, could make a good deal of sense...

Team Player Position Height Weight Class
14. Carolina Panthers Lane Johnson, Oklahoma OT 6'6"
303 SR

Jaxon: "Though selecting a tackle was not high on the needs list for the Panthers, Johnson is the best player on the board and the perfect replacement for the guy Dan Kadar compares him to: Jordan Gross. Gross might have been a cap casualty this season if the Panthers had anyone that could play left tackle. That changes with the selection of Johnson. The Panthers have the luxury of starting Johnson on the right side until Gross is ready to retire, or they could go ahead and cut the biggest salary on the offense. New GM Dave Gettleman is looking at the long term, and first and foremost he needs to make sure his quarterback’s blind side is protected for the long term. He would consider himself very fortunate to land a tackle like Johnson at No. 14."

Here's our own Dan Kadar to break down the pick:

To get a player like Johnson with the 14th pick in the draft would be quite the coup. In every mock draft we’ve done the past two months, Johnson has been long gone before Carolina picks, so we never consider a tackle for them. But Johnson to Carolina makes sense in the same fashion Luke Joeckel to Kansas City does. Either start him for a year on the right side (where Johnson has some experience), or try to trade Gross.

NFC South day in the bloggers' mock will conclude when the New Orleans Saints, repped by Canal Street Chronicles, make their pick at 3PM ET. See you then!

Top 5 players remaining

# Player Pos. College Ht. Wt.
5 Sheldon Richardson * DT Missouri 6'3" 294
11 Bjoern Werner * DE Florida State 6'3" 266
12 Jonathan Cooper OG North Carolina 6'2" 311
15 Arthur Brown LB Kansas State 6'0" 241
16 Kenny Vaccaro S Texas 6'1" 215

2013 SB Nation NFL writers' mock draft results

No. Team Player Pos. College
1 Kansas City Chiefs Luke Joeckel OT Texas A&M
2 Jacksonville Jaguars Geno Smith QB West Virginia
3 Oakland Raiders Sharrif Floyd DT Florida
4 Philadelphia Eagles Eric Fisher OT Central Michigan
5 Detroit Lions Ezekiel Ansah DE BYU
6 Cleveland Browns Dion Jordan OLB Oregon
7 Arizona Cardinals Barkevious Mingo OLB LSU
8 Buffalo Bills Jarvis Jones OLB Georgia
9 New York Jets Chance Warmack OG Alabama
10 Tennessee Titans Dee Milliner CB Alabama
11 San Diego Chargers Star Lotulelei DT Utah
12 Miami Dolphins Desmond Trufant CB Washington
13 Tampa Bay Buccaneers Xavier Rhodes CB Florida State
14 Carolina Panthers Lane Johnson OT Oklahoma
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