The NFL Draft has concluded, and the Panthers had some mixed results. After securing a top edge-rusher, the Panthers had a strange second day of the draft but finished out strong with late day three selections.
First Round (16th overall pick) – Brian Burns, Edge Rusher, Florida State
I did not believe that Brian Burns was going to be available at 16. He was my third overall prospect in this class. Getting a premier player at the edge rusher position provides incredible value. He’s a speed-based pass rusher and is creative in getting to the quarterback. He can play either defensive end or outside linebacker in the new hybrid scheme Carolina will be using. With only one starting caliber edge player (Mario Addison), adding Burns is huge.
Second Round (37th overall pick) – Greg Little, Offensive Tackle, Mississippi
While I don’t mind the pick, the trade up from 47 was atrocious. Giving up a third-round pick to move up ten spots in the second round is poor asset management by Marty Hurney and co. That said, Little is a decent addition to the offensive line that could end up starting at left tackle this year. After signing Matt Paradis and retaining Daryl Williams (at least this year), the Panthers offensive line doesn’t look horrible for once.
Pick Grade: B
Trade Grade: D-
Third Round (100th overall pick) – Will Grier, Quarterback, West Virginia
The Panthers needed to come out of Day Two of the draft with at least three starting caliber players. Will Grier simply isn’t. The Panthers have far too many needs to spend a high-quality pick on a luxury. It isn’t good value in the third round, either. While Grier has a smooth throwing motion and can create plays outside of the pocket, he doesn’t quite put enough ‘zip’ on his throws and has questionable decision-making. I had Grier graded as a fifth-round quarterback prospect.
Fourth Round (115th overall pick) – Christian Miller, Edge Rusher, Alabama
A safety would have been nice with this pick, but after New Orleans traded up in the fourth round for Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, the options were limited. Christian Miller was a first-round talent on my personal big board. Getting him in the fourth round was incredible value. I believe he will be a starter by the end of the season. Though he has some injury concerns, Alabama has proven to churn out elite defensive prospects time and time again, I don’t think Miller is an exception.
Fifth Round (154th overall pick) – Jordan Scarlett, Half Back, Florida
While many fans don’t like the value, per se, Scarlett is the ideal back-up to Christian McCaffrey. He’s fast and strong, put simply. I personally had Scarlett graded as a sixth-round HB, but Carolina needed a second RB, and I can respect taking Scarlett here.
Sixth Round (212th overall pick) – Dennis Daley, Offensive Tackle, South Carolina
The Panthers needed tackle depth with the assumption either Daryl Williams or Taylor Moton kicks inside to left guard. Dennis Daley is exactly that. He could have gone as early as the fourth round, but Daley is a solid pick that could likely be a swing tackle in his first year for Carolina. After trading back from the 187th overall pick, this was a great value.
Trade Grade: B+
Pick Grade: B
Seventh Round (237th overall pick) – Terry Godwin, Wide Receiver, Georgia
Terry Godwin is a fun player. In the seventh round, you want players that can contribute in multiple ways, and I think Godwin can do that for you. As an undersized receiver, his ball skills are nothing short of impressive and he can effectively create separation.
The Panthers secured two of my top edge players and solidified the tackle spot on the offensive line. While I despise the Grier pick and believe Carolina will regret not picking a safety on day two, the Panthers got better up front on both sides of the ball. At the very least this was an average draft class and fans should be able to live with that.