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2014 NFL mock draft: Marqise Lee to Carolina Panthers at No. 28

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Carolina parted ways with franchise-leading receiver Steve Smith this offseason, and now the Panthers are in the market for a replacement.

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 Cat Scratch Reader is taking the team with his mock draft pick.

Team Player Pos. Ht Wt Class
28. Panthers Marqise Lee, USC WR 6'0 192 JR

"In need of No. 1 receiver, Lee represents a best player available meets biggest need pick for the Panthers.

I’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’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’s certainly not a bad thing."

Dan Kadar, our distinguished NFL Draft analyst, has some thoughts and opinions to share on the Panthers' mock draft pick of Lee:

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.

Coming up tomorrow in the SB Nation NFL Writers Mock Draft: picks from the New England Patriots, San Francisco 49ers and Denver Broncos.

Top 5 players remaining

# Player Pos. College Ht. Wt.
12 Louis Nix DT Notre Dame 6'2 326
15 Xavier Su'a-Filo OG UCLA 6'4 307
18 Jason Verrett CB TCU 5'10 189
19 Ra'Shede Hageman DT Minnesota 6'6 310
25 Dee Ford DE Auburn 6'2 252

2014 SB Nation NFL writers' mock draft results

Panthers picks

Rd # Team Player Pos. College
1 28 Carolina Panthers Marqise Lee WR USC
2 60 Carolina Panthers