DT, WR, FS, CB, & RT
Round One Pick 14: Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
I had a hard time deciding between Tavon Austin, Cordarelle Patterson, or Sheldon Richardson for the Panthers at 14. All three have a chance of being the Panther’s first pick this April. I ultimately mocked Richardson because Carolina has been in need of a solid Defensive Tackle ever since Kris Jenkins departed a few years ago. They need a big body up front that can help stop the urn but also take some pressure in the pass game off of their Defensive Ends, and Richardson fits the bill perfectly. He is powerful enough to stop the run game, but also is elusive enough to rush the passer.
Round Two Pick 44: Robert Woods, WR, University of Southern California
Woods makes perfect sense for the Panthers in the second round. Steve Smith is still playing at a high level, but he isn’t getting any younger, and the Panthers have virtually no one outside of him that is a threat at all. Woods reminds me a lot of Reggie Wayne, as he is a precise route runner, and has a nice blend of size and athleticism. He would make a great compliment to Steve Smith to start out his career, but could be the heir apparent whenever Smith retires.
Round Four Pick 108: Tyrann Mathieu, CB/S, Louisiana State University
Mathieu could be viewed as a huge risk in round four, but could also be a potential steal. The Panthers need secondary help, as they released Chris Gamble this offseason, and need a starting safety as well. Mathieu has the potential to fit either role, as he can play either position, and while he may not be ready to start on defense right away, Mathieu could be an instant help on special teams, where he is a dynamic returner, and is a threat to score whenever the ball is in his hands.
Round Five Pick 148: Brandon Jenkins, DE/OLB, Florida State
Had Jenkins come out in last year’s draft, he likely would have been a first or second round selection. He slides to the fifth in this mock because there are some major concerns with injury. When healthy at Florida State, Jenkins was a solid pass rusher and one of the best players on the field. However, he wasn’t healthy for much of his college career. If he can figure out a way to stay healthy, Jenkins could end up being a huge steal for the Panthers in round five.
Round Six Pick 182: Ricky Wagner, OT, Wisconsin
Wagner is not a starting caliber tackle in the NFL, but he definitely could be a quality backup. The Panthers need depth across their offensive line, as Jordan Gross is aging and their Right Tackle situation is a bit of a mess. Wagner could serve as a swing player who could play guard or tackle if needed.