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Carolina Panthers 2017 NFL Draft Recap

Hello football fans,

 

Oh how the mighty have fallen. Winners of their division a record three straight years, the Carolina Panthers didn’t have quite the season as they hoped following their Super Bowl loss. Was it the dreaded hangover or the fact Cam Newton got destroyed on opening night against Denver and that just set the tone for the season? No matter what happened last season, it’s a new year and the Panthers are looking forward to re-sharpening their claws. Did they do enough in the draft to reclaim their place atop the NFC South? Let’s take a gander and hunt for the answers.

 

-1st Round, Pick #8: Christian McCaffrey – Running Back (Stanford)

 

  • If I’m being honest with you, I wasn’t pounding my chest or waving the McCaffrey flag around before the draft because I don’t think he’s an every down back, but that just goes to show that location most definitely makes a difference. This match makes perfect sense. Will Christian be running up the middle or be featured in the power running game? No, but he will be a swiss-army knife that will be able to line up almost anywhere for Carolina. Cam Newton had one of the worst completion percentages last year, so dumping the ball off to Christian will only help that rise. Carolina also needed a slot type receiver and Christian could also be used in that role as well. If you weren’t on the McCaffrey train before, suggest you hop on now before the tickets get too expensive.

-2nd Round, Pick #40: Curtis Samuel – Wide Receiver (Ohio State)

 

  • Unlike a few Jet picks, this back to back player selection makes sense because the Panthers don’t have the glaring needs that the Jets (still) have. Before the draft Curtis was considered a running back, now he is destined to assume the slot receiver role. In college he caught 107 balls for 1,249 yards and had 9 receiving touchdowns. Curtis and Christian are almost the exact same player, it’s scary. Both stand 5’11” and ran a sub 4.5-dash as well as having magical play-making abilities. This is the perfect insurance because if one goes down with an injury, then the other easily slides in. Back to back picks where Cam is getting two automatic receptions to get into a rhythm. Curtis isn’t a speed demon, but he does have skills to aggravate the defense by eluding their grasp. Carolina should be ecstatic to have two brilliant play-making guys to contribute for their team.

 

-2nd Round, Pick #64: Taylor Moton – Guard (Western Michigan)

 

  • Fully intend on Taylor starting for this team. Cam was constantly pressured and Taylor will come in and help, it’s not like he can play any worse than last year’s group. Taylor is listed as a guard, but played mostly tackle in college. After being red-shirted in 2012, he started the next four years at Western Michigan. That experience will benefit him while competing for a starting job along the offensive line. His 6’5″ body helps drive the defender backwards to make open running lanes. Needs to work on hand combat and foot work to hold down the fort against shifty pass rushers, but with his size and quickness he’s able to sustain his pass blocking for at least a short period of time. He runs well for a big man, which will create opportunities in the running game if asked to pull outside.

 

-3rd Round, Pick #77: Daeshon Hall – Defensive End (Texas A&M)

 

  • Daeshon was often foreshadowed by former teammate Myles Garrett, which could have made him either slide to the third round or a reach at this point. Either way you splice it, Daeshon is for depth and will develop behind some great talent. Who better to learn from than the franchises’ leading sack leaders in Julius Peppers and Charles Johnson? Steal or reach, it doesn’t matter if this kid can eventually play at Peppers’ and Johnson’s level. Daeshon is very raw at the position, but once he adds some muscle and learns how to fundamentally play Carolina defense, he’ll be ready to attempt filling in the big shoes of Peppers and Johnson.

 

-5th Round, Pick #152: Corn Elder – Cornerback (Miami-FL)

 

  • This prospect will be shucked into a sweet edition to the club. He is considered undersized, but he does have the athleticism to play a nickel role in the Panthers defensive scheme day one; However, after last year’s young guys getting torched on a weekly basis they might take a new approach and let their young guys develop this time. After all, you don’t want popcorn do you? Corn has the attitude of a former Panther, Josh Norman. Both play physically and bigger than their size and won’t shy away from a verbal fight. If only he could sprout a few more inches.

 

-6th Round, Pick #192: Alex Armah – Fullback (West Georgia)

 

  • The Panthers like the power running game. This addition gives the Panthers two fullbacks on the roster, so unless having two on the roster is a new thing I don’t know about, someone is getting cut. Alex is more of the prototypical fullback build standing 6’2″ than his competition who is 5’11”. If I wanted to block out a defender, I would want the size to create those running lanes. Alex played a little tight end as well, so he can be serviceable in the passing game as well. It’ll be like having a slimmer version of Mike Tolbert.

 

-7th Round, Pick #233: Harrison Butker – Kicker (Georgia Tech)

 

  • Doesn’t look good for good ole’ Graham Cracker Gano. He’s entering a contract year and had his worst season last year. It’s not far-fetched to see a rookie come in and replace the veteran kicker. It’s seems to be a trend anymore. Harrison holds the title of all-time point leader for the yellow jackets, so he won’t be afraid to nail those field goals. The first kicker ever drafted by Carolina looks to have a bright future ahead of him if he can beat out Graham.

 

The Carolina Panthers added some good talent on both sides of the ball and will be looking to capitalize on a top ten draft pick selection. Their division is tough, but Carolina knows how to take control and win the NFC South. As long as Cam keeps his confidence the sky is the limit and that is scary heading into a season where they have something to prove. Before the Panthers accomplished it, there were no repeat division winners, so they’ll be looking to make sure Atlanta doesn’t replicate them. Can Carolina pounce back to the top, yes they Cam! Until next time, have a great day!

 

-Austin Thomas

 


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