SB Nation - Carolina Panthers http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/teams/carolina-panthers Stories From Around SB Nation About Carolina Panthers Will the Panthers Draft a Kick Return Specialist? http://www.catscratchreader.com/2014/4/20/5633262/will-the-panthers-draft-a-kick-return-specialist Jaxon http://www.catscratchreader.com/2014/4/20/5633262/will-the-panthers-draft-a-kick-return-specialist Sun, 20 Apr 2014 12:00:03 -0400 <img alt="" src="http://cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/31895103/179162207.0_standard_400.0.jpg" /> <p>With Ted Ginn leaving via free agency the Panthers kick and punt return jobs are now wide open. If the Panthers fail to land one of the top level WRs that possess return ability they might instead use a late round pick on a specialist.</p> <p>Mocking the Drafts Dan kadar weighed on some mid to late round return assets:</p> <blockquote> <p><span>If you get past some first rounders like Odell Beckham, Justin Gilbert, Bradley Roby, Marqise Lee and others, I like these guys as </span><span class="il">return </span><span>assets:</span><br style="color: ; font-family: HelveticaNeue, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, 'Lucida Grande', sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: normal;"><br style="color: #222222; font-family: HelveticaNeue, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, 'Lucida Grande', sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: normal;"><span>Dri Archer, RB/WR, Kent State</span><br style="color: #222222; font-family: HelveticaNeue, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, 'Lucida Grande', sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: normal;"><span>Corey Brown, WR, Ohio State</span><br style="color: #222222; font-family: HelveticaNeue, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, 'Lucida Grande', sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: normal;"><span>Robert Herron, WR, Wyoming</span><br style="color: #222222; font-family: HelveticaNeue, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, 'Lucida Grande', sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: normal;"><span>Solomon Patton, WR, Florida</span><br style="color: #222222; font-family: HelveticaNeue, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, 'Lucida Grande', sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: normal;"><span>Jalen Saunders, WR, Oklahoma</span><br style="color: #222222; font-family: HelveticaNeue, 'Helvetica Neue', Helvetica, Arial, 'Lucida Grande', sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: normal;"><span>De'<a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/players/1909/anthony-thomas">Anthony Thomas</a>, RB/WR, Oregon</span></p> </blockquote> <p>Let's take a look at each of these guys.</p> <h4><i>Dri Archer</i></h4> <p>This kid lit up the combine, putting up the best performance in 4 categories: 40 yd dash (4.26), 20 yd shuttle (4.06), vertical jump (38.0") and 3 cone drill (6.86).</p> <p>More on Archer:</p> <blockquote> <p><b>STRENGTHS</b> Rare burst, acceleration and top-end speed to take the corner and create big plays. Can fly by MAC competition with top gear. Very good agility, balance, vision and creativity. Weaves through a crowd and can find daylight. Soft-handed and plucks the ball with ease. Extremely strong pound-for-pound. Very good career all-purpose yardage. Good versatility -- contributes as a runner, slot receiver and return man. Four career kickoff-return TDs (and was kicked away from). Clocked a 4.16-second 40-yard dash in 18 steps on one official handheld combine watch, tying <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/players/19053/calvin-johnson" class="sbn-auto-link">Calvin Johnson</a>’s <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl-combine" class="sbn-auto-link">NFL Scouting Combine</a> record for fewest steps. Has a 38-inch vertical jump.</p> <p><b>WEAKNESSES</b> Very short and rail thin with no strength or running power. Not a tackle-breaker and goes down easy on contact. Limited inside runner. Can be knocked off routes easily and struggles catching on contact. Not a nuanced route runner. Very marginal, underpowered blocker. Could stand to do a better job securing the ball in traffic. Is not ideally built to withstand a full NFL season.</p> </blockquote> <p>Archer is projected to be a 3rd or 4th rounder, a position affected by his slight frame and risk of injury.</p> <h4><i>Corey Brown</i></h4> <p>Brown is another smaller guy who didn't really distinguish himself at the combine.</p> <blockquote> <p><b>STRENGTHS </b>Works himself open short-to-intermediate. Adjusts to throws. Quick enough to elude the initial tackler and pick up yards after the catch. Functional blocker. Lined up inside and outside and has punt-return experience.</p> <p><b>WEAKNESSES</b> Has a lean build and relatively small hands. Needs to get stronger in order to combat the jam. Not an explosive athlete. Average initial quickness into routes. Lacks elite top-end speed to beat defenses vertically. Bland, unrefined route runner. Lets throws into his body. Inconsistent traffic player. Average production and playmaking.</p> </blockquote> <p>Brown is considered a priority free agent. Given the <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/teams/carolina-panthers" class="sbn-auto-link">Panthers</a> situation maybe Brown will try his wares in Charlotte.</p> <h4><i>Robert Herron</i></h4> <p>The Panthers met with Herron a week ago so he is on the Panthers radar for sure. I find it interesting that Kadar mentioned Herron as a return specialist given he did not return kicks for the <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/teams/dallas-cowboys" class="sbn-auto-link">Cowboys</a>:</p> <blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.catscratchreader.com/2014/4/14/5614690/2014-nfl-draft-robert-herron-works-out-for-panthers">2014 NFL draft: Robert Herron works out for Panthers - Cat Scratch Reader</a><br>Herron had his best season in 2013, finishing with 937 yards and nine touchdowns. He's a smaller receiver best equipped for the slot, but confuse that with him being special teams player. Herron did not return kicks and punts for Wyoming, meaning the Panthers' interest is purely as a complementary receiver. It's expected that he will be selected on day two of the draft.</p> </blockquote> <p>I found the explanation on NFL.com in his combine profile:</p> <blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.nfl.com/draft/2014/profiles/robert-herron?id=2543777">Robert Herron Draft Profile &ndash; NFL.com</a><br><b>STRENGTHS </b>Good athlete. Exceptional straight-line timed speed -- can accelerate and get on top of DBs vertically. Quick-footed. Above-average hands. Has return capability (<b>despite not being used as a returner because of offensive value). </b></p> <p><b>WEAKNESSES </b>Does not play fast. Marginal toughness -- does not like crossing the middle or extending across his frame. Drifts in his routes. Short-arms the ball. Does not adjust to or track the deep ball well. Lacks physical strength and is jarred on contact after the catch. Carries the ball loosely. Disinterested blocker, especially on the back side. Regularly matched up vs. inferior competition. Has been dinged a lot and long-term durability is a concern.</p> </blockquote> <p>They are suggesting he was too valuable to the offense to risk returning kicks. I guess that flies but most coaches would put him out there anyway. You wouldn't know that from the analysis above. He's a late day 2 or day 3 draft pick.</p> <h4><i>Solomon Patton</i></h4> <p>Patton is another Day 3 prospect with a slight frame but more WR experience than most of the others.</p> <blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.nfl.com/draft/2014/profiles/solomon-patton?id=2543709">Solomon Patton Draft Profile &ndash; NFL.com</a><br><b>STRENGTHS </b>Good short-area burst and acceleration. Adjusts well to the thrown ball and stabs it out of the air. Extends outside his frame and catches the ball cleanly. Quick to turn upfield and displays fine vision and run instincts to create and elude tacklers. Is very tough for his size and can withstand a hit. Outstanding pro-day workout, posting sub-4.40 40 times.</p> <p><b>WEAKNESSES</b> Small-framed and lacks run strength. Small catching radius. Gets overwhelmed in the run game as a blocker and barely gets in the way.</p> </blockquote> <p>These guys are all clones of each other it seems.</p> <p>This next one does come with a positive reputation as a locker room 'fit' for the Panthers.</p> <h4><i>Jalen Saunders</i></h4> <blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1766841/jalen-saunders">Jalen Saunders, WR, Oklahoma, NFL Draft - CBSSports.com - NFLDraftScout.com</a><br><b>STRENGTHS:</b> Fast off the line of scrimmage with very good acceleration and initial burst. Explosive cuts to catch defenders off-balance with a sharp plant foot in his breaks. Very quick-footed with natural explosiveness to dance and create in space. Good balance and shifty moves to wiggle out of trouble. Quick, controlled hands and will contort his body and consistently secure catches away from his frame. Good catching radius for a target his size. Works the middle of the field well as an inside receiver and finds open zones. Productive after the catch with several big plays on his highlight reel.</p> <p>Adds value as a return man on special teams and averaged 15.0 yards per punt return in college, including three career scores. <b>Very hard worker off the field and prepares like a professional </b>- motivated and determined. Football bloodlines as the nephew of 13-year NFL veteran WR Webster Slaughter.</p> <p><b>WEAKNESSES:</b> Smallish frame with narrow shoulders/hips and skinny limbs, lacking the body type to add much muscle. Very light as a ballcarrier and doesn't have much of a power element to his game. Lean frame makes him susceptible to crushing hits, especially over the middle, which creates durability concerns. Tough, but won't seek out contact. Smaller hands and will have some drops. Willing blocker, but very limited. Most of his experience is as an inside receiver and will be relegated to a slot role at the next level.</p> </blockquote> <p>I like the blood lines aspect too.</p> <blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.nfl.com/draft/2014/profiles/jalen-saunders?id=2543745">Jalen Saunders Draft Profile &ndash; NFL.com</a><br><b>STRENGTHS</b> Light on his feet with a fluid stride. Good balance and body control. Nifty, conscientious route runner. Has speed and twitch to separate vs. man coverage -- sinks his hips with ease and pops out of breaks. Quick, soft hands. Slippery after the catch. Eludes the first tackler and can turn a short throw into a long gain if he gets a step. Three punt-return TDs in 25 returns at OU -- eludes the first wave, runs to daylight and can take it the distance.</p> <p><b>WEAKNESSES</b> Marginal size. Cannot play outside -- is easily knocked off course and needs a free release. Lets throws into his body. Small catch radius. Lacks elite top-end vertical speed, especially for his size (averaged just 12.0 yards per catch as a senior). Outmuscled in a crowd. Limited run strength. Lets throws into his body. Weak blocker -- gets ragdolled outside. Durability could be a concern -- is not built to take a pounding.</p> </blockquote> <p> </p> <p>De'Anthony Thomas</p> <blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/1880868/deanthony-thomas">De&rsquo;Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon, NFL Draft - CBSSports.com - NFLDraftScout.com</a><br><b>STRENGTHS:</b> Without question, Thomas is the most electric player in the 2014 draft. He boasts remarkable elusiveness, instant acceleration and the speed to pull away from defenders to make him a legitimate threat to score each time he touches the ball. Shows good vision, locating holes and slithering through them to get into the open field. Has soft, natural hands for the reception, easily snagging passes and securing them quickly. Tougher than he looks, showing a willingness to lower his shoulder and fight through initial contact to gain as much yardage as possible. Offers the versatility to play several roles, potentially freeing up a roster spot due for other players.</p> <p><b>WEAKNESSES:</b> There is not an NFL offense better suited to taking advantage of Thomas' skill-set than the one he's leaving at Oregon, where wide splits, a dual-threat quarterback and up-tempo play-calling all exaggerated his talents. Does not possess the size and power to play more than a complementary role as an NFL running back. Most teams prefer a larger, tougher player at kick returner, as well. While a highly productive receiver with the Ducks, caught most of his passes on simple passes to the flats and quick screens and therefore while certainly possessing the quickness and balance to ultimately gain separation as a receiver, Thomas is a raw route-runner. Thomas' production and durability dropped each of his three seasons at Oregon...</p> </blockquote> <p>If you like fast then this is your guy:</p> <blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.nfl.com/draft/2014/profiles/deanthony-thomas?id=2543638">De'Anthony Thomas Draft Profile &ndash; NFL.com</a><br><b>STRENGTHS</b> Has legit big-time sprinter's speed with very quick turnover and is field-fast. Cat-quick to the corner, accelerates very quickly and can easily take the perimeter. Good vision and cutback ability -- is patient and follows his blocks. Can tightrope-walk the sideline. Very quick to and through the hole once he sees a crease and can stick his foot in the dirt and go. Catches in stride with ease and can make difficult one-handed snags (see Arizona). Has home-run speed in the return game, with three career return TDs. Exceptional pro day performance.</p> <p><b>WEAKNESSES</b> Very small. Does not play in a conventional-style offense and takes most carries moving laterally. Goes down too easily and looks for a soft landing spot. Lacks the size, strength and toughness to be an every-down back. Alligator-arms the ball in the middle of the field. Needs to learn to appreciate the preparation process and would benefit from working more at his craft.</p> </blockquote> <p>So which of these guys do you like as a late round specialist? Archer seems much like Kenyon Barner so though he is fast I'm not seeing a fit. The other guys could man the slot if needed. Thoughts?</p> 2014 NFL mock draft: Panthers select Morgan Moses http://www.prideofdetroit.com/2014/4/20/5622102/2014-nfl-mock-draft-panthers-morgan-moses Sean Yuille http://www.prideofdetroit.com/2014/4/20/5622102/2014-nfl-mock-draft-panthers-morgan-moses Sun, 20 Apr 2014 10:00:02 -0400 <img alt="" src="http://cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/31890665/20131110_kkt_sb4_419.0_standard_400.0.jpg" /> <p>The Carolina Panthers take Morgan Moses with the 28th pick of the 2014 POD Community Mock Draft.</p> <p>With the 28th pick in Pride Of Detroit's 2014 <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl-mock-draft">NFL mock draft</a>, the <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/teams/carolina-panthers">Carolina Panthers</a> select Virginia offensive tackle Morgan Moses. <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/users/SUHPERHERO" target="_blank">SUHPERHERO</a> is serving as the Panthers' general manager, and his reasoning for the pick is below.</p> <p>So what do you invest in if you have <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/players/131354/cam-newton">Cam Newton</a> as your QB? Do you go flashy with a bust-likely position such as wide receiver? Nope. You go with an offensive tackle. We have to keep Super Cam healthy for this season and the future. The Panthers had three offensive linemen retire this offseason, the most important being a guy at left tackle named Jordan Gross. He was just a Pro Bowler, though, so no worries. LOL.</p> <p>Morgan Moses graded out this season over 90 percent in every game played. He played well, giving up 0 sacks against Kyle Van Noy, Aaron Donald and Jeremiah Attaochu. He was voted the top pass protector at the <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/senior-bowl">Senior Bowl</a> and has an extremely high ceiling as a right tackle and future left tackle in the NFL. Carolina general manager Dave Gettleman, who apparently has a propensity to build his lines with "Hog Mollies," as he calls them, gets a big one standing at 6'6 and 325 pounds with 34+ inch arms who averaged 8 knockdowns per game his senior season.</p> <p>There are plenty of talented positions to be had in the next few rounds, Panthers fans. Protecting Cam is my top priority.</p> <p class="pgh-paragraph" id="paragraph5">--</p> <p class="pgh-paragraph" id="paragraph6">Check out the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.prideofdetroit.com/2014/4/9/5591768/2014-pride-of-detroit-community-mock-draft-tracker">2014 POD Community Mock Draft tracker</a> for a look at all of the picks.</p> <fieldset class="poll-box"> <legend>Poll</legend> <h5 class="poll-title">Do you approve of this pick?</h5> <div id="poll_container_230057_421844816"> <form action="/polls/vote/230057?container_id=poll_container_230057_421844816" method="post" onsubmit="new Ajax.Request('/polls/vote/230057?container_id=poll_container_230057_421844816', {asynchronous:true, evalScripts:true, parameters:Form.serialize(this)}); return false;"><div style="margin:0;padding:0;display:inline"><input name="authenticity_token" type="hidden" /></div><ul class="poll-list clearfix"> <li class="clearfix"><span class="radio"><input id="poll_option_1025027" name="poll_option" type="radio" value="1025027" /></span> <label for="poll_option_1025027"><span class="option">Yes</span></label></li> <li class="clearfix"><span class="radio"><input id="poll_option_1025029" name="poll_option" type="radio" value="1025029" /></span> <label for="poll_option_1025029"><span class="option">No</span></label></li> </ul> <p class="poll-vote-submit"><input class="button" name="commit" type="submit" value="Vote!" /> <span> &nbsp; <span>60 votes |</span> <a href="#" onclick="new Ajax.Request('/polls/results/230057?container_id=poll_container_230057_421844816', {asynchronous:true, evalScripts:true, parameters:'authenticity_token=' + encodeURIComponent('')}); return false;">Results</a></span></p> </form></div> </fieldset> 2014 NFL draft: Jaxon gets high grades in blogger mock http://www.catscratchreader.com/2014/4/18/5628306/2014-nfl-draft-jaxon-gets-high-grades-in-blogger-mock James Dator http://www.catscratchreader.com/2014/4/18/5628306/2014-nfl-draft-jaxon-gets-high-grades-in-blogger-mock Fri, 18 Apr 2014 14:00:03 -0400 <img alt="" src="http://cdn2.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/31821351/20120414_jel_al2_165.0_standard_400.0.jpg" /> <p>Grading was harsh all around, but the Panthers did well.</p> <p>The SBNation.com blogger mock draft rolls into the second round, but Dan Kadar took some time to grade out the first round selections. <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl-mock-draft/2014/4/18/5627002/2014-nfl-mock-draft-grades" target="_blank">Results are in and Jaxon did very well by selecting Marqise Lee with the 28th overall pick</a>.</p> <p>Carolina received a "B" for their selection, a good result given the pool.</p> <p>Jacksonville scored the highest grade of the first round by earning an "A-" for the selection of Jadeveon Clowney with the third overall pick. The grades were harsh from top to bottom with only 16 teams earning a "B" or better, Carolina was one of them. Six teams drafting in the 20's or lower had similar grades to the <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/teams/carolina-panthers">Panthers</a>.</p> <p>Where Jaxon's pick really shined was in the player grade evaluation. Lee was the 10th best player taken in the first round, but was had with the No.28 pick. That's a seriously good return on investment, especially given the need at wide receiver. It shows that going WR wasn't a reach given the circumstances and the board broke in a way that make him the best guy.</p> <p>It seems like a wholly plausible pick given that Carolina has now met with Lee twice and sent <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/players/2814/ricky-proehl">Ricky Proehl</a> to personally evaluate the USC receiver.</p> 2014 NFL Draft: Pitt's Tom Savage rockets up draft boards http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2014-nfl-draft/2014/4/18/5627368/2014-nfl-draft-quarterbacks-tom-savage-scouting-report-pittsburgh Dale Grdnic http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2014-nfl-draft/2014/4/18/5627368/2014-nfl-draft-quarterbacks-tom-savage-scouting-report-pittsburgh Fri, 18 Apr 2014 12:00:07 -0400 <img alt="" src="http://cdn1.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/31814377/201301116_rvr_al8_162.0_standard_400.0.jpg" /> <p>The former Pitt quarterback is quickly emerging as one of the top prospects at the position in the 2014 NFL Draft. BTSC's Dale Grdnic, a Panthers beat writer, explains why. </p> <p>PITTSBURGH -- Former Pitt defensive tackle Aaron Donald most assuredly will be the <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/teams/carolina-panthers" class="sbn-auto-link">Panthers</a> player drafted the highest this year, but quarterback Tom Savage's star is rising so fast he could be the next in line.</p> <p>Sure, Savage isn't likely to go in the first round during this year's <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl-draft" class="sbn-auto-link">NFL Draft</a> May 8-10, like Donald, but he could be a second-day selection. With a strong performance at the <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl-combine" class="sbn-auto-link">NFL Combine</a> and excellent followup at Pitt's pro day, Savage went from a likely third-day selection -- anywhere from Rounds 4-7 -- to the second day and possibly a late third-round pick.</p> <p>How has this happened to a player like Savage? He certainly has the size to be an NFL quarterback at 6-foot-4 and 228 pounds, as well as the arm strength. But his lack of athleticism and intermittent accuracy issues could hold him back. Still, Savage has something that scouts love, and that's potential.</p> <p>"I definitely want to bring toughness [to the NFL),'' Savage said. "You have to be that guy who can take a couple of hits and keep your eyes down the field and still make the big-time throws you need to make. Everyone here has big arms. You have to be accurate. You have to be a poised quarterback and be able to handle the pressure.''</p> <p>Anyone who watched Savage play for Pitt knows that he has to be among the toughest quarterbacks in college last season. Playing behind the Panthers' leaky offensive line decimated by injuries and attrition, Savage was banged around from sideline to sideline and sacked 43 times. Virginia sacked Savage seven times in the fourth week of the season, while Virginia Tech dropped him eight times the next week. Later in the season, he was sacked five times at Navy and seven times at home by North Carolina just a few weeks later.</p> <p>It's a wonder that Savage was able to finish the season. Actually, he wasn't, as Savage was knocked from Pitt's bowl game prior to halftime. However, after transferring from Rutgers to Arizona following his sophomore season in 2011 and in 2012 to Pitt and sitting out both those seasons, most scouts believe that Savage has not yet realized his potential. Savage's only year with the Panthers was solid. He was 238-for-389 passing (61.2 percent) and threw for 2,958 yards and 21 touchdowns with just nine interceptions. He also ran for three scores and threw just three picks in his final nine games in 13 starts.</p> <p>A rib injury caused him to miss the second half of the Panthers' bowl win against Bowling Green. Savage was 8-for-13 for 124 yards to help Pitt secure a 17-10 halftime lead. The Panthers eventually won 30-27 on a last-second field goal. If not for the injury, Savage likely would have become just the fifth player in Pitt history to reach 3,000 yards passing in a season. His 2,958 yards passing rank fifth on the Panthers' single-season list.</p> <p>"Watching him this (past) year, he's still a little bit all over the place,'' NFL draft analyst Mike Mayock said. "He's had some accuracy issues at times, but he can really push the football down the field. And he hasn't been in an offense long enough to learn. I finally got to see him this year (being) stabilized (and playing) in an offensive system for a (full) year. He's a big, strong kid.''</p> <p>So, what does all this mean for Savage? He has been compared to <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/teams/philadelphia-eagles" class="sbn-auto-link">Philadelphia Eagles</a> starting quarterback <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/players/154916/nick-foles" class="sbn-auto-link">Nick Foles</a>, similar in size and stature going into the NFL Draft. Foles, 6-6, 243, was taken in the third round by the Eagles in 2012. Foles played at Arizona and was a rising star going into his draft. Savage also has compared by arm strength to more notable college players like Fresno State's Derek Carr and LSU's Zach Mettenberger.</p> <p>If Savage can follow Foles lead into the NFL, he'll be set for the future. In any event, he'll certainly end up in some team's camp this summer, no matter where he is selected in the draft. Among other positive points for Savage, who will turn 24 just before the draft, is his one season in a pro-style offense under Pitt coach Paul Chryst.</p> <p>However, that offense also did not play to Savage's strengths as a quarterback. And if he is selected by a team that more utilizes downfield passing and where he doesn't have to play immediately -- such as the <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/teams/arizona-cardinals" class="sbn-auto-link">Arizona Cardinals</a>, <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/teams/tennessee-titans" class="sbn-auto-link">Tennessee Titans</a>, <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/teams/oakland-raiders" class="sbn-auto-link">Oakland Raiders</a> and <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/teams/dallas-cowboys" class="sbn-auto-link">Dallas Cowboys</a> -- Savage could be a valued pick in any mid-to-late round.</p> 2014 NFL draft: What if Carolina had the No.1 overall pick? http://www.catscratchreader.com/2014/4/18/5627988/2014-nfl-draft-what-if-carolina-had-the-no-1-overall-pick James Dator http://www.catscratchreader.com/2014/4/18/5627988/2014-nfl-draft-what-if-carolina-had-the-no-1-overall-pick Fri, 18 Apr 2014 11:51:39 -0400 <img alt="" src="http://cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/31813649/20140108_mje_se2_1387.0_standard_400.0.jpg" /> <p>For weeks we've looked at every possibility at No.28, now lets imagine a world where the Panthers sucked.</p> <p>The argument of need vs. best player has coursed through CSR over the last few months. At this point everyone has cemented their favorite guys and who they'd like to see the <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/teams/carolina-panthers">Panthers</a> target. That discussion will continue to rage up until the draft and beyond, but today let's imagine the team was picking No.1.</p> <p>Here's the only stipulation: No trades. Frankly, it's the easy and lazy way out of making a tough decision. If Carolina was up that high then the logical move would be to bait a trade with a QB-hungry team, but that doesn't prompt good discussion.</p> <p>In looking at the issue I'm left with three prospects that are nearly impossible to choose between.</p> <h5>Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina</h5> <p>If you're going to adhere purely to the letter of the law, then Clowney is the best player in this draft. The seemingly-endless tear down continues and had made people down, but in my book he's poised to be the best pass rusher the league has seen in the last decade.</p> <p>Projecting him to Carolina is complicated by the reality there are already two really good pass rushers here. That said, taking Clowney could allow for <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/players/108434/greg-hardy">Greg Hardy</a> to be moved via trade, or simply allowed to walk after 2014. That may not seem ideal, but it gives the Panthers a whole lot of available cap space they wouldn't have by re-signing Hardy.</p> <p>Would I do it? Probably not. Like I said, he's my favorite single prospect in the draft, but it's hard to overlook the ramifications of completely ignoring glaring needs.</p> <h5>Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn</h5> <p>This is a situation where I think Robinson is going to fall farther than he deserves purely out of teams taking quarterbacks early. He's positioned to be an extremely good left tackle in the NFL and has a rare combination of size and agility that's not often seen out of prospects.</p> <p>There is no greater need for the Panthers than at tackle. Right now it's still Byron Bell's world, which is petrifying. The organization might believe in him, but I sure don't. Landing Robinson would be a dream come true that allows <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/players/131354/cam-newton">Cam Newton</a> to be protected for the next decade.</p> <p>Would I do it? Yes, yes, yes. Sprinting to the podium and doing a little dance afterwards. Ugh, now I'm slightly depressed because this isn't possible.</p> <h5>Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson</h5> <p>Taking a wide receiver with the first overall pick would be a bold move, but Dave Gettleman is good at making bold moves. Watkins might not be the best player available at No.1, but if you listen to smart people they think he can have a similar impact to <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/players/131126/a-j-green">A.J. Green</a> and <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/players/131119/julio-jones">Julio Jones</a>.</p> <p>Plug him in and watch your offense flourish. It makes so much sense with <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/players/16783/steve-smith">Steve Smith</a> gone and would be a vital complement to anything Carolina is trying to achieve through the air.</p> <p>Would I do it? No. That sounds like a contradiction to the above paragraphs, but in Mike Shula's offense it's hard to see how a rookie receiver is able to make an impact. I really like Watkins, a lot -- but the idea of getting a left tackle is so much more reassuring than getting a top receiver.</p> <p>★★★</p> <p>What are your thoughts? is there anyone else who should be included in this list?</p> Thoughts About the Past Week in the NFL http://www.catscratchreader.com/2014/4/16/5622862/thoughts-about-the-past-week-in-the-nfl Jaxon http://www.catscratchreader.com/2014/4/16/5622862/thoughts-about-the-past-week-in-the-nfl Wed, 16 Apr 2014 23:00:02 -0400 <img alt="" src="http://cdn3.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/31738153/20140224_ads_ss1_046.0_standard_400.0.jpg" /> <p>This is just a few links and my thoughts about issues and events from around the NFL.</p> <p><b>Nawrocki:</b> This guy has been fairly quiet so far...but I'm sure he has something in the works:</p> <blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.nj.com/jets/index.ssf/2014/04/a_look_at_the_scout_who_smeared_geno_smith_before_last_years_draft.html">Scouting the scout who smeared Geno Smith before last year's draft | NJ.com</a><br>The Akili Smith-Aaron Brooks comparison is a dead giveaway: Nawrocki tends to pepper his harshest critiques with coded language about black quarterbacks. Three years ago, Nawrocki similarly disparaged <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/players/131354/cam-newton" class="sbn-auto-link">Cam Newton</a>, whom he described as having "a fake smile" and who "comes off as very scripted and has a selfish, me-first makeup." None of that, of course, has stopped Newton from flourishing as an NFL quarterback.</p> </blockquote> <p>Watch your back Teddy B if Nolan is around, he's just looking for something to take out of context...</p> <p><b>Clowney:</b> This guy nails the Clowney criticism:</p> <blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.businessinsider.com.au/jadeveon-clowney-lazy-2014-4">Why It's Absurd That NFL People Think Jadeveon Clowney Is Lazy | Business Insider</a><br>When anonymous NFL people call Clowney lazy, they&rsquo;re actually talking about two different things: "Lazy" meaning "a lack of work ethic bread out of a sense of entitlement, a serious psychological hindrance." "Lazy" meaning "doesn&rsquo;t give maximum effort on the field." The first definition &mdash; the one contained in the NJ.com story &mdash; is the more easily dismissible one. The logic is twisted: Football players have to work hard to succeed, Clowney&rsquo;s natural athleticism makes it easier for him to succeed, therefore Clowney isn&rsquo;t a hard worker.</p> </blockquote> <p>He's a victim of his own success as the bar is so much higher for Clowney. He will never measure up until he finally suits up in the NFL.</p> <p><b>Wonderlic Scores:</b> Here's a case where a prospect is talked about negatively for being too smart instead of not smart enough and this writer calls it out for what it is:</p> <blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/2014/4/11/5604638/dumb-take-wonderlic-johnny-manziel?utm_source=sbnation&utm_medium=nextclicks&utm_campaign=articlebottom">The dumbest take on the Wonderlic that you will hear this year - SBNation.com</a><br>NFL GMs should look at Wonderlic scores like I would look at obesity if I were running a software business. I could really give a shit if any of my employees weighed 300 pounds as long as they were qualified for their job. But when we start talking about someone who has to get a wall cut out of his house to get in the ambulance to take him to the office, that's when I start assuming that it's going to affect his work. Can they understand a playbook and navigate street signs? Good, let's move on to their ability. The second one is even negotiable if you're as talented as Ndamukong Suh. There are a million things that you can be wrong about when it comes to drafting a player, but whether he is too smart for his own good shouldn't be one of them.</p> </blockquote> <p>We've seen plenty of players with low Wonderlic scores go on to have very nice Pro careers. CB Patrick Peterson comes to mind as a recent example.</p> <p><b>Smitty</b>: I resisted writing a singular piece on this as I'm feeling a little over saturated regarding Smitty's departure. But I do want to take another chance to say how impressed I am with how he remains on the high road:</p> <blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2014/04/11/4835280/steve-smith-has-moved-on-from.html#.U0nSwlVdVDA">Steve Smith has moved on from his Carolina Panthers past | CharlotteObserver.com</a><br>"I have nothing bad to say about Mr. Richardson or the organization. And I won&rsquo;t. And I refuse to because they deserve nothing but my respect," he said. "At the end of the day, they&rsquo;ve done great things for me, given me an opportunity to bless my family."</p> </blockquote> <p>The national media would love nothing more than to report on an ugly break up but Smitty refuses to take the bait. Keep pounding <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/players/16783/steve-smith" class="sbn-auto-link">Steve Smith</a>!</p> <p><b>Dickson:</b> When you peel back a couple layers we were bound to find a few bad spots:</p> <blockquote> <p><a href="http://charlotte.cbslocal.com/2014/04/11/panther-thoughts-2/">Panther Thoughts " CBS Charlotte</a><br>1) <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/players/108516/ed-dickson" class="sbn-auto-link">Ed Dickson</a> scares me. As someone who loves the <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/teams/baltimore-ravens" class="sbn-auto-link">Ravens</a> in addition to the <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/teams/carolina-panthers" class="sbn-auto-link">Panthers</a>, I can tell you first hand the guy was viewed as a disappointment in B-More. He went from over 50 catches in 2011 to no more than 25 in each of the last 2 seasons. He regressed as a player and didn&rsquo;t step up when <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/players/108524/dennis-pitta" class="sbn-auto-link">Dennis Pitta</a> went out last year. And, Pro Football Focus ranks him as the worst blocking TE in the NFL last season.</p> </blockquote> <p>I was thinking he was a better blocker than that.</p> <p><b>Receiving Corps:</b> If 2014 is not a wash in production versus 2013, its a win in cap savings.</p> <blockquote> <p><a href="http://espn.go.com/blog/carolina-panthers/post/_/id/5834/carolinas-new-receivers-not-such-a-dropoff">Carolina's new receivers not such a dropoff - Carolina Panthers Blog - ESPN</a><br>In overall age (based on the start of next season), Carolina got slightly younger with the average of the newcomers 30.0 compared to 30.3 of those they replaced. Smith, who will be 35 before the season, is the primary reason. In terms of 2013 receptions, the old regime held a 149 to 108 advantage.</p> <p>Last year's receivers held a 1,928 to 1,489 edge in receiving yards. The new guys held a 16 to 14 advantage in touchdown catches. It's not a wash, but it's not worth panicking over. And overall price tag of the newcomers is considerably lower, which will help with the salary cap down the road.</p> </blockquote> <p>Add in a high pick from the draft and this group could be better than 2013's production.</p> <p><b><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/players/131355/aldon-smith" class="sbn-auto-link">Aldon Smith</a></b>: Yes he made a dumb mistake but the media sure put the worst possible spin on it by using the word 'possession'. I knew right away he probably just made a dumb comment in spite of this negative characterization:</p> <blockquote> <p><a href="http://nfl.si.com/2014/04/13/san-francisco-49ers-aldon-smith-bomb-los-angeles-international-airport/">49ers DE Aldon Smith indicated that he had a bomb at Los Angeles International Airport | Audibles - SI.com</a></p> <p>According to multiple reports, Smith was detained by security at Los Angeles International Airport on Sunday afternoon after he indicated that he was in possession of a bomb. Nobody at the airport publicly identified the man as Smith, but ESPN&rsquo;s Adam Schefter forwarded a statement from <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/teams/san-francisco-49ers" class="sbn-auto-link">49ers</a> general manager Trent Baalke: "We are disappointed to learn of the incident today involving Aldon Smith. As this is a pending legal matter and we are still gathering the pertinent facts, we will have no further comment."</p> </blockquote> <p>Obviously Smith never saw Meet the Parents:</p> <p><iframe width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/DcK5gSRti4g" frameborder="0"></iframe> <br id="1397703659835"></p> NFL free agency 2014: Three receivers who make more sense than Sidney Rice http://www.catscratchreader.com/2014/4/16/5621020/nfl-free-agency-2014-three-receivers-who-make-more-sense-that-sidney James Dator http://www.catscratchreader.com/2014/4/16/5621020/nfl-free-agency-2014-three-receivers-who-make-more-sense-that-sidney Wed, 16 Apr 2014 15:00:06 -0400 <img alt="" src="http://cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/31716983/20131229_mse_se2_224.0_standard_400.0.jpg" /> <p>Bringing Sidney Rice home has been discussed by Panthers fans, but there might be some better options.</p> <p>There are a lot of reasons why <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/players/19110/sidney-rice" class="sbn-auto-link">Sidney Rice</a> would make sense in Carolina. He's the kind of reclamation project Dave Gettleman has shown to have an affinity for, Rice is a South Carolina native and still young enough to make an impact. On the surface it looks like a trifecta, but there are three players who make more sense and are still available.</p> <p>At this point it's hard to see what Rice brings to the table other than potential. Jaxon wrote about the possibility earlier today, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.catscratchreader.com/2014/4/16/5620860/will-the-panthers-bring-sidney-rice-home">but it's seen as a long shot</a>. He's a tall and talented receiver when healthy, but his potential role was diminished in Carolina when <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/players/1223/jerricho-cotchery" class="sbn-auto-link">Jerricho Cotchery</a> was signed. No, they're not equivalent players but fill many of the same needs.</p> <p>Instead of stocking the shelves with lots of guys it's now important to see how the puzzle fits together. To this end there are three options who are immediately better for Carolina than Sidney Rice.</p> <h5>1. <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/players/3384/miles-austin" class="sbn-auto-link">Miles Austin</a> </h5> <p>It's easy to look at the 29-year old's season in 2013 and assume he's done. A third of his yearly production, no touchdowns -- what's compelling about that?</p> <p>Austin played through a year-long hamstring injury which limited his speed and explosiveness. At this point he's not a long-term option, but on a one year deal he's perfect to plug into the second or third receiver spot and succeed. If that hamstring has healed, which it seems to, then he's absolutely worth kicking the tires on.</p> <h5>2. <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/players/118017/danario-alexander" class="sbn-auto-link">Danario Alexander</a> </h5> <p>This is a situation where he's essentially a younger version of Rice with a higher ceiling -- if healthy, and that's a huge caveat. Alexander came out of nowhere in 2012 to become one of the biggest surprises of the season. He may not have eclipsed 1,000 receiving yards, but he was reliable.</p> <p>At 25 years-old there's plenty of room to bounce back from his season-ending injury a year ago, but complications have left him out of free agency equations this year. Some reports say his ability to play is in jeopardy, others have him closer to playing. It's a situation of the <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/teams/carolina-panthers" class="sbn-auto-link">Panthers</a> needing to sit back and wait this one out, potentially making an acquisition during training camp.</p> <h5>3. <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/players/1606/santonio-holmes" class="sbn-auto-link">Santonio Holmes</a> </h5> <p>This last pick is the least likely, purely because the Panthers don't want headaches. That said, he's a very interesting option to fill an ancillary role.</p> <p>Holmes was never able to be the No.1 receiver the <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/teams/new-york-jets" class="sbn-auto-link">Jets</a> hopes for when they signed him to a big deal, but he's still a solid receiver who can offer 600-800 yards without too much risk. He would be vetted heavily to ensure his head is in the right place, so that doesn't really worry me -- plus there aren't the injury concerns the other players have.</p> Panthers Early 2014 Fantasy Football Analysis http://www.catscratchreader.com/2014/4/15/5617438/panthers-early-2014-fantasy-football-analysis Jaxon http://www.catscratchreader.com/2014/4/15/5617438/panthers-early-2014-fantasy-football-analysis Tue, 15 Apr 2014 17:00:02 -0400 <img alt="" src="http://cdn1.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/31670889/20130822_pjc_aq3_121.0_standard_400.0.jpg" /> <p>The post linked below ranking the players spurred the notion to post this review, something I preview every year before fantasy season kicks in. This year I'm getting an early start.</p> <p>You might be surprised to see Newton ranked this high but honestly this ranking is on the money:</p> <blockquote> <p><a href="http://gmenhq.com/2014/04/14/fantasy-football-2014-top-ten-quarterbacks/">Fantasy Football: Ranking the top 10 quarterbacks for 2014</a><br>4. <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/players/131354/cam-newton">Cam Newton</a> (<a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/teams/carolina-panthers">Carolina Panthers</a>) Newton has yet to finish a pro season outside of the top-four, so why stop now? He seemed to finally put it all together in 2013, although 2014 could be troublesome with no real proven weapons at his disposal other than <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/players/16684/greg-olsen">Greg Olsen</a> at tight end. Seriously, <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/players/1223/jerricho-cotchery">Jerricho Cotchery</a>? Even if the Panthers draft new talent at receiver, it&rsquo;s still going to be a major red flag for Newton owners. He&rsquo;s scheduled to miss four months while recovering and rehabbing from ankle surgery. He should be ready to roll week 1, but camaraderie is again a concern.</p> </blockquote> <p>I'm not sure where the camaraderie comment is coming from. He will be at OTA's and camp even if he can't participate. I think that is just an issue that resides only in this pundits head. Newton is a solid 2nd round selection after first grabbing a top notch RB in the first round. Careful though he may not last to 16.</p> <p>Beyond Newton is there a true 'starter-quality' player on the Panthers offense at the moment? Players like TE Olsen, FB Mike Tolbert and RB DeAngelo Williams might be good spot starts but if you play them every week they will let you down on some weeks. At least that is my thought at the start of the season with so much being unknown. In fact, all have an opportunity for slow starts if the Panthers offensive line struggles. They are mid round picks that might out produce their draft position if everything goes right with the offense in 2014.</p> <p>Newly acquired WR's Jerricho Cotchery, <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/players/71383/tiquan-underwood">Tiquan Underwood</a> and <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/players/1293/jason-avant">Jason Avant</a> will have to get involved but will it be enough unless it all goes to one player? I'm having a hard time seeing that happen. I have zero confidence Cotchery can repeat his 10 TD receptions from 2013 with this Panther offense yet he will be over-drafted in most leagues. Underwood has the most upside at this point assuming he gets the slot work. Yet I still wouldn't draft hum until the last or next to last round as a flyer pick. Same with Avant if you think he is going to break out. Unless you are in a league full of Panther fans you can get those guys late if not on the wire after week 1.</p> <p>K <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/players/71667/graham-gano">Graham Gano</a> finished 15th in fantasy points last season as the Panthers offense was more effective in the red zone than seasons past. That's the thing about a starting kicker, sometimes its the mediocre offense that produces big for the kicker by creating so many chances. Still, drafting or using Gano is simply a homer move by any Panther fan. But I solute you if you do!</p> <p>The Panther defense finished a solid 3rd in defensive scoring and was only 11 points from the top. They did it on the back of a league leading 60 sacks while also creating 30 turnovers and scoring 4 TDs. Though I was concerned about some losses in the secondary I don't see that making an impact in these defenses ability to rush the passer. Hence the defense is a solid starting D almost every week. I usually target a top defense around the 8th round of most drafts.</p> 2014 NFL mock draft: Marqise Lee to Carolina Panthers at No. 28 http://www.sbnation.com/nfl-mock-draft/2014/4/15/5613020/2014-nfl-mock-draft-marqise-lee-carolina-panthers Brian Galliford http://www.sbnation.com/nfl-mock-draft/2014/4/15/5613020/2014-nfl-mock-draft-marqise-lee-carolina-panthers Tue, 15 Apr 2014 15:00:02 -0400 <img alt="" src="http://cdn0.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/31664819/20130921_ter_al2_015.0_standard_400.0.jpg" /> <p>Carolina parted ways with franchise-leading receiver Steve Smith this offseason, and now the Panthers are in the market for a replacement.</p> <p><iframe src="http://www.sbnation.com/videos/iframe?id=41575" frameborder="0" seamless="true" marginwidth="0" mozallowfullscreen="true" webkitallowfullscreen="true" name="41575-chorus-video-iframe"></iframe></p> <p>No member of the Carolina Panthers has ever caught more passes (836) for more yards (12,197) or touchdowns (67) than Steve Smith, who was released this offseason and is now playing in Baltimore. The 12-4 Panthers, who established themselves as Super Bowl contenders a year ago, will be in the market for a potential No. 1 receiver in the NFL Draft -- and that's exactly where lead blogger "Jaxon" from <a href="http://www.catscratchreader.com/">Cat Scratch Reader</a> is taking the team with his mock draft pick.</p> <table width="100%" border="1"><tbody> <tr> <td style="text-align: center;"><b>Team</b></td> <td style="text-align: center;"><b>Player</b></td> <td style="text-align: center;"><b>Pos.</b></td> <td style="text-align: center;"><b>Ht</b></td> <td style="text-align: center;"><b>Wt</b></td> <td style="text-align: center;"><b>Class</b></td> </tr> <tr> <td style="text-align: center;"><b>28. <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/teams/carolina-panthers">Panthers</a></b></td> <td style="text-align: center;"><b><a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/college-football/players/136355/marqise-lee">Marqise Lee</a>, USC</b></td> <td style="text-align: center;"><b>WR</b></td> <td style="text-align: center;"><b>6'0</b></td> <td style="text-align: center;"><b>192</b></td> <td style="text-align: center;"><b>JR</b></td> </tr> </tbody></table> <p> <link href="http://cdn2.sbnation.com/assets/3706325/bloglinks.css" rel="stylesheet"></p> <div class="blog-links-main-container"> <h4> <span class="blog-links-star"><img src="http://cdn2.sbnation.com/assets/3608771/star.png"></span> More from our team site <span class="blog-links-star"><img src="http://cdn2.sbnation.com/assets/3608771/star.png"></span> </h4> <div class="blog-links-link-container"> <a href="http://www.catscratchreader.com?utm_source=sbnation&utm_medium=bloglinks&utm_campaign=blogs" title="Carolina Panthers blog Cat Scratch Reader">Carolina Panthers<br><img src="http://cdn1.sbnation.com/uploads/blog/sbnu_logo/80/large_catscratchreader.com.full.35783.png" class="blog-links-blog-logo" alt="Carolina Panthers blog Cat Scratch Reader"></a> <div> <a data-size="small" data-show-count="true" data-show-screen-name="false" class="twitter-follow-button" href="https://twitter.com/CatScratchReadr">Follow</a> <div class="fb-like" data-href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Cat-Scratch-Reader/177066813982?ref=ts" data-layout="button_count" data-action="like" data-show-faces="false" data-share="false"></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="blog-links-compact-container"> <h4> <span class="blog-links-star"><img src="http://cdn2.sbnation.com/assets/3608771/star.png"></span> More from our team site <span class="blog-links-star"><img src="http://cdn2.sbnation.com/assets/3608771/star.png"></span> </h4> <div class="blog-links-compact-link-container"><a href="http://www.catscratchreader.com?utm_source=sbnation&utm_medium=bloglinks&utm_campaign=blogs">Carolina Panthers blog Cat Scratch Reader</a></div> </div> <p>"In need of No. 1 receiver, Lee represents a best player available meets biggest need pick for the Panthers.</p> <p>I&rsquo;m not going to say he will be able to replace Steve Smith in his prime, but in due time Lee could be a solid No. 1 for the Panthers. Lee had a monster season in 2012, catching 118 balls for 1,721 yards and 14 touchdowns. He battled injuries in 2013, which honestly is the only reason he lasted to No. 28 in this mock draft. Lee is a remarkably fluid athlete, capable of changing directions quickly and shows developing savvy as a route runner, often using a hesitation move and shoulder dip to get defenders off balance. His vision, elusiveness and acceleration make him a terror after the catch, whether as a receiver or returner. He plays bigger than his size, showing the ability to go up and high-point passes amidst tight coverage and is an attentive, physical downfield blocker. He&rsquo;s just the kind of wide receiver the Panthers need to complement their new veteran corps after the offseason purge. His only drawback is a slight frame, to which some compare him to Victor Cruz. That&rsquo;s certainly not a bad thing."</p> <p>Dan Kadar, our distinguished <a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl-draft" class="sbn-auto-link">NFL Draft</a> analyst, has some thoughts and opinions to share on the Panthers' mock draft pick of Lee:</p> <blockquote> <p>A solid No. 1 is a good way to describe Lee. When he was at his best at Southern California, before injuries and bad quarterback play derailed his draft potential, Lee looked as good as any receiver in this class. He's not going to blow anyone away in any particular area, but he's good across the board. It won't be a surprise if the Panthers double up on receivers in the draft this year. Lee is a great place to start.</p> </blockquote> <p>Coming up tomorrow in the SB Nation NFL Writers Mock Draft: picks from the <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/teams/new-england-patriots">New England Patriots</a>, <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/teams/san-francisco-49ers">San Francisco 49ers</a> and <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/teams/denver-broncos">Denver Broncos</a>.</p> <h4><a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl-mock-draft/2014/4/2/5572964/2014-nfl-draft-rankings">Top 5 players remaining</a></h4> <table width="500" border="1" align="center"><tbody> <tr> <td><b>#</b></td> <td><b>Player</b></td> <td><b>Pos.</b></td> <td><b>College</b></td> <td><b>Ht.</b></td> <td><b>Wt.</b></td> </tr> <tr> <td>12</td> <td>Louis Nix</td> <td>DT</td> <td>Notre Dame</td> <td>6'2</td> <td>326</td> </tr> <tr> <td>15</td> <td>Xavier Su'a-Filo</td> <td>OG</td> <td>UCLA</td> <td>6'4</td> <td>307</td> </tr> <tr> <td>18</td> <td>Jason Verrett</td> <td>CB</td> <td>TCU</td> <td>5'10</td> <td>189</td> </tr> <tr> <td>19</td> <td>Ra'Shede Hageman</td> <td>DT</td> <td>Minnesota</td> <td>6'6</td> <td>310</td> </tr> <tr> <td>25</td> <td>Dee Ford</td> <td>DE</td> <td>Auburn</td> <td>6'2</td> <td>252</td> </tr> </tbody></table> <h4><a target="new" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl-mock-draft/2014/4/2/5574578/sb-nation-nfl-writers-mock-draft">2014 SB Nation NFL writers' mock draft results</a></h4> <h4>Panthers picks</h4> <table width="500" border="1" align="center"><tbody> <tr> <td><b>Rd</b></td> <td><b>#</b></td> <td><b>Team</b></td> <td><b>Player</b></td> <td><b>Pos.</b></td> <td><b>College</b></td> </tr> <tr> <td>1</td> <td>28</td> <td>Carolina Panthers</td> <td>Marqise Lee</td> <td>WR</td> <td>USC</td> </tr> <tr> <td>2</td> <td>60</td> <td>Carolina Panthers</td> <td></td> <td></td> <td></td> </tr> </tbody></table> <fieldset class="poll-box"> <legend>Poll</legend> <h5 class="poll-title">What&#39;s your grade for the Panthers&#39; pick of Marqise Lee in the SB Nation NFL Writers&#39; Mock Draft?</h5> <div id="poll_container_229557_53968024"> <form action="/polls/vote/229557?container_id=poll_container_229557_53968024" method="post" onsubmit="new Ajax.Request('/polls/vote/229557?container_id=poll_container_229557_53968024', {asynchronous:true, evalScripts:true, parameters:Form.serialize(this)}); return false;"><div style="margin:0;padding:0;display:inline"><input name="authenticity_token" type="hidden" /></div><ul class="poll-list clearfix"> <li class="clearfix"><span class="radio"><input id="poll_option_1023065" name="poll_option" type="radio" value="1023065" /></span> <label for="poll_option_1023065"><span class="option">A</span></label></li> <li class="clearfix"><span class="radio"><input id="poll_option_1023067" name="poll_option" type="radio" value="1023067" /></span> <label for="poll_option_1023067"><span class="option">B</span></label></li> <li class="clearfix"><span class="radio"><input id="poll_option_1023069" name="poll_option" type="radio" value="1023069" /></span> <label for="poll_option_1023069"><span class="option">C</span></label></li> <li class="clearfix"><span class="radio"><input id="poll_option_1023071" name="poll_option" type="radio" value="1023071" /></span> <label for="poll_option_1023071"><span class="option">D</span></label></li> <li class="clearfix"><span class="radio"><input id="poll_option_1023073" name="poll_option" type="radio" value="1023073" /></span> <label for="poll_option_1023073"><span class="option">F</span></label></li> </ul> <p class="poll-vote-submit"><input class="button" name="commit" type="submit" value="Vote!" /> <span> &nbsp; <span>1262 votes |</span> <a href="#" onclick="new Ajax.Request('/polls/results/229557?container_id=poll_container_229557_53968024', {asynchronous:true, evalScripts:true, parameters:'authenticity_token=' + encodeURIComponent('')}); return false;">Results</a></span></p> </form></div> </fieldset> 2014 NFL draft: Robert Herron works out for Panthers http://www.catscratchreader.com/2014/4/14/5614690/2014-nfl-draft-robert-herron-works-out-for-panthers James Dator http://www.catscratchreader.com/2014/4/14/5614690/2014-nfl-draft-robert-herron-works-out-for-panthers Mon, 14 Apr 2014 18:27:44 -0400 <img alt="" src="http://cdn3.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/31624541/20131028_kkt_aj8_334.0_standard_400.0.jpg" /> <p>Finding a No. 1 receiver is important, but getting an option for the slot concerns the team too.</p> <p>The <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/teams/carolina-panthers">Carolina Panthers</a> conducted a workout with Wyoming wide receiver Robert Herron in early April,&nbsp;<a href="https://twitter.com/RapSheet/status/455829269243891712" target="_blank">according to Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network</a>.</p> <p>Herron had his best season in 2013, finishing with 937 yards and nine touchdowns. He's a smaller receiver best equipped for the slot, but confuse that with him being special teams player. Herron did not return kicks and punts for Wyoming, meaning the Panthers' interest is purely as a complementary receiver. It's expected that he will be selected on day two of the draft.</p> <p>We're used to hearing endless bravado from potential rookies, but Herron was refreshingly realistic when he spoke&nbsp;<a href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/2014/2/18/5416718/robert-herron-wyoming-nfl-draft-interview" target="_blank">to SBNation.com</a>.</p> <blockquote> <p>Obviously you put yourself in the first just because you know the things you can do, but I feel like that's a fair judgement. I feel like I have some upside, ya know, some stuff to learn. But I also feel like the things I do bring to the table [make me] a Day 2 guy. But I'm not really looking at all that. I'm just ready to work and get on a team.</p> </blockquote> <p>Several wide receivers have worked out for the Panthers, the majority of which fall into the range of second round or later. There's a chance Carolina will look to address its largest needs early, then find value in a deep draft.</p> Mock Draft Monday: Keep away from Kelvin http://www.stampedeblue.com/2014/4/14/5604274/mock-draft-friday-keep-away-from-kelvin torridphenix http://www.stampedeblue.com/2014/4/14/5604274/mock-draft-friday-keep-away-from-kelvin Mon, 14 Apr 2014 09:00:07 -0400 <img alt="" src="http://cdn3.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/31592237/20140221_mje_ss1_1074.0_standard_400.0.jpg" /> <p>FSU WR Kelvin Benjamin was reportedly "too tired" to work out for an NFL team.</p> <p>Florida State's Kelvin Benjamin was reportedly "<a target="_blank" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/2014/4/10/5602478/2014-nfl-draft-rumors-kelvin-benjamin-work-ethic-florida-state">too tired</a>" to work out for an NFL team.</p> <p>Hmm...</p> <p>After several years of those around him questioning his work ethic and drive, let alone his own admission of being "lazy" at the beginning of this past season, Benjamin thinks it's a good idea to blow off an NFL team, as if NFL teams don't gossip like middle school girls.</p> <p>For me, this situation just screams of a young Albert Haynesworth. Remember him? An uber-talented DT for the <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/teams/tennessee-titans">Tennessee Titans</a> that never came to play until his contract year. When he came to play though, boy, was he a force. However, once he signed his huge contract with the Washington football team, you never heard from him again.</p> <p>Benjamin seems cut from the same mold. A uber-talents big, bodied WR who can change games when he wants to. But that's the problem, it's only when he wants to. It seems like more than coincidence that once Benjamin realized he was likely to go pro after this year he cleaned up his act and throughout this season, you never heard the talk of him being "lazy" or unmotivated. A person who blows off a job interview because they are "too tired" is not someone I'd want within my organization. Even if Banjamin falls to the <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/teams/indianapolis-colts">Colts</a> at pick 59, it's highly unlikely they would take him because the Colts, as an organization, seem to consistently tout hard work and bringing your lunch pail every day.</p> <p>As for Mock Draft Friday, I'm going to give you two mocks I really like and two I don't so much care for.</p> <h3>Mocks I Like</h3> <h3></h3> <p>First, I'll hit up <a target="_blank" href="http://drafttek.com/">Drafttek.com</a> where they have the Colts selecting:</p> <table style="font-family: Calibri, San-Serif, Arial, Verdana; width: 587px; height: 90px; background-image: url(http://www.drafttek.com/2012Images/coolbar.jpg); font-size: 11px; overflow: auto; position: relative; padding-bottom: 5px; border-bottom-color: #1d4084; border-bottom-width: 0px; border-bottom-style: solid; margin-bottom: 0px; color: #333333; text-align: left; background-position: 0% 0%; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;" id="CoolTBL" border="0" width="587"><tbody><tr> <td style="font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica; font-size: 20px; font-weight: bold; color: #f7951f;" id="CoolA" align="center" width="40">59</td> <td style="font-family: Calibri, Arial, Helvetica; font-size: 14px; color: #d4f4ff;" id="CoolB" align="left" valign="CENTER" width="80">Indianapolis<br><img src="http://www.drafttek.com/images/colts_logoslice.jpg" height="34" width="70"> </td> <td width="10"></td> <td align="left" valign="CENTER" width="70"><img style="font-family: Calibri, San-Serif, Arial, Verdana; width: 54px; height: 58px; border: 3px solid #173d62;" src="http://www.drafttek.com/2014-Images-NFL/McGillKeith.jpg" id="Facebox"></td> <td align="left" valign="CENTER" width="200"> <font style="font-family: Impact, Arial, Helvetica; font-size: 20px; color: #f7951f;" id="CoolC">Keith McGill</font><font style="font-family: Calibri, Arial, Helvetica; font-size: 11px; font-weight: bold; color: #d4f4ff;" id="CoolD"><br> Utah<br> CB<br><font style="font-size: 11px; color: #000000;" id="CoolE"> Reach/Value:</font><font style="font-size: 11px;" id="CoolD"> -27</font></font> </td> <td align="CENTER" valign="CENTER" width="60"> <font style="font-family: Calibri, Arial, Helvetica; font-size: 11px; font-weight: bold;" id="CoolE"><b><u>Height:</u></b></font><b><br><font style="font-family: Calibri, Arial, Helvetica; font-size: 11px; color: #d4f4ff;" id="CoolD">6'3"</font><br><font style="font-family: Calibri, Arial, Helvetica; font-size: 11px;" id="CoolE"><u>Weight:</u></font><br><font style="font-family: Calibri, Arial, Helvetica; font-size: 11px; color: #d4f4ff;" id="CoolD">211</font></b> </td> <td align="left" valign="center" width="113"><b><font style="font-family: Calibri, Arial, Helvetica; font-size: 11px;" id="CoolE"><u>Alternate Pick #1 </u></font><br><font style="font-family: Calibri, Arial, Helvetica; font-size: 11px; color: #d4f4ff;" id="CoolD">Jackson Jeffcoat<br><font style="font-size: 11px; color: #000000;" id="CoolE"><u>Alternate Pick #2</u></font><br><font style="font-size: 11px;" id="CoolD">Aaron Lynch</font></font></b></td> <td width="7"></td> </tr></tbody></table> <table style="font-family: Calibri, San-Serif, Arial, Verdana; width: 587px; height: 120px; background-image: url(http://www.drafttek.com/2012images/CMDTextTealSm.jpg); font-size: 12px; overflow: auto; position: relative; padding: 5px 18px 19px 8px; border-bottom-color: #1d4084; border-bottom-width: 0px; border-bottom-style: solid; margin-bottom: 0px; color: #333333; text-align: left; background-position: 0% 0%; background-repeat: no-repeat no-repeat;" id="CMDTXTTEALSM" border="0" width="587"><tbody><tr> <td align="left" width="587"><font color="#000000">Indy re-signed the vaunted <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/players/71148/vontae-davis">Vontae Davis</a> and still needs a CB opposite him they can count on for an entire season. <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/players/71309/greg-toler">Greg Toler</a>, although talented, cannot stay healthy. McGill would provide the Colts with a tall, extremely athletic and top skill corner to pair up with Davis. The big concern with <b><a style="color: #f7951f;" target="_blank" href="http://youtu.be/hDUEA2FdeIw">McGill</a></b>, however, is shying away from making tackles. That can't happen at the next level, and Indy coaching staff will need to make certain that trait is not an ingrained or long-lasting one.<br><br></font></td> </tr></tbody></table> <p><br>Normally, I don't like Drafttek's selections overall but this would be a solid pick up for the Colts, who are in dire need of a consistent CB opposite Vontae Davis. Toler had more injuries last year than I'd like to count. As they point out, the one main concern is a lack of willingness to stick his head in there and make a tackle, but at least he'd be on the field.</p> <p>The next mock draft I think is intriguing is from <a target="_blank" href="http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2016211-2014-nfl-mock-draft-matt-millers-updated-7-round-predictions">Matt Miller at BleacherReport.com</a> where he has the Colts selecting:</p> <p><span>59 </span><span>&mdash; </span><span>Indianapolis Colts: Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota</span><br style="color: #373737; font-family: 'Open Sans', Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 16px; line-height: 26px;"><span>60 </span><span>&mdash; </span><span><a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/teams/carolina-panthers">Carolina Panthers</a>: Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State</span></p> <p>Now, I include both the Colts and Carolina pick for a reason. First, Ra'Shede Hageman is a physical freak, or as Chuck Pagano would call him, a Dancing Bear. He is aNT prospect that can blow up plays in the backfield if he gets off the snap well. However, if a blocker gets leverage, he's known to give up on plays. It'll be interesting to see how that dynamic would play out.</p> <p>As for the pick, I think it's intriguing but I say that with some hesitation due to Miller having Allen Robinson taken right afterwards. Robinson is a great WR talent who attacks the ball in the air and is a tireless worker with tremendous physical attributes as well. If I were the Colts, I would take Robinson over Hageman because in the first few rounds, that's where you get elite skill position talent. Unless there is a special OL or DL prospect available, you can pick up good linemen in later rounds.</p> <h3>Mocks I Don't Like</h3> <h3></h3> <p>As for the mocks I don't like, the first is from <a target="_blank" href="http://www.sportingnews.com/nfl/story/2014-04-09/nfl-mock-draft-2014-clowney-teddy-bridgewater-manziel-texans-jaguars-rams">SportingNews.com</a> where they have the Colts selecting:</p> <p><span>59. Indianapolis - Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State </span></p> <p>They can't be serious, right? I know the RB situation may not be perfect but there's no need to replace <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/players/71477/donald-brown">Donald Brown</a> and taking a serious shot at Trent Richardson's already fragile confidence. Carlos Hyde is Trent Richardson Lite. I'd rather just stick with the real thing and see how it goes.</p> <p>The last mock draft I'll take my shot at is from the sports giant itself, ESPN.com where Todd McShay has the Colts selecting:</p> <p><b style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #333333; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; line-height: 17px;">59. <a style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #225fb2;" href="http://espn.go.com/nfl/team/_/name/ind/indianapolis-colts">Indianapolis Colts</a>: <a style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; outline: 0px; vertical-align: baseline; color: #225fb2;" href="http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/draft/player/_/id/33073/chris-borland">Chris Borland</a>, ILB, Wisconsin</b><br style="color: #333333; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; line-height: 17px;"><span>I was surprised Borland lasted this long, but I think this is a case where positional value bumps him down a bit. I have an early second-round grade on him. I'd rather see him as a 4-3 middle linebacker, but he'd be fine at the weak inside linebacker position in a 3-4.</span></p> <p>Don't get me wrong, I like Borland as a prospect but not to the Colts. The team signed <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/players/2658/d-qwell-jackson">D'Qwell Jackson</a> to play opposite <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/players/34788/jerrell-freeman">Jerrell Freeman</a> for the next few years and drafting Borland would be somewhat conceding Jackson may not have been the guy. Also, the team has <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/players/192533/josh-mcnary">Josh McNary</a> and Henuc Muamba who I'd like to see if they can develop. Oddly enough, Borland seems to be a popular pick for the Colts in this spot. I understand the pick though because Jackson is a bit older and a likely replacement will need to be taken at some point.</p> <p>As always, feel free to leave your opinions or rants in the comments or follow me on Twitter @Reed_StephenT. If you're interested in reading any of my other work stop by Truebluefans.org to check it out.</p> Panthers Waive WR RJ Webb http://www.catscratchreader.com/2014/4/13/5611836/panthers-waive-wr-rj-webb Jaxon http://www.catscratchreader.com/2014/4/13/5611836/panthers-waive-wr-rj-webb Sun, 13 Apr 2014 21:39:09 -0400 <img alt="" src="http://cdn1.vox-cdn.com/uploads/chorus_image/image/31579249/20130530_ajl_bb4_166.0_standard_400.0.jpg" /> <p>The local Furman product is coming off an ACL injury.</p> <p>I can't say I had any expectations for the kid:</p> <blockquote> <p><a href="http://www.thestate.com/2014/04/12/3384325/carolina-panthers-waive-former.html">Carolina Panthers waive former Furman WR Webb | NFL Football | The State</a><br>The <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/teams/carolina-panthers">Panthers</a> have waived former Furman wide receiver <a class="sbn-auto-link" href="http://www.sbnation.com/nfl/players/196265/r-j-webb">R.J. Webb</a>, who spent his only season with Carolina on injured reserve after tearing his ACL during a minicamp practice last June. Webb, 26, was signed last May after participating in the team&rsquo;s rookie minicamp as a tryout player. He was injured a month later. Webb caught 85 passes for 1,082 yards and eight touchdowns at Furman from 2006-2009.</p> </blockquote> <p>Anyone broken up about this move?</p>