This years draft is the first draft in recent memory that there isn’t an obvious No. 1 overall player that’s worthy of the selection. You can make cases for a number of players. Any one of Aubrun DT Nick Fairley, Clemson DE Da’Quan Bowers, LSU CB Patrick Patterson, Auburn QB Cam Newton, Alabama DT Marcell Dareus or Missouri QB Blaine Gabbert could be taken by the Carolina Panthers it wouldn’t be all that surprising.
Panther newly appointed head coach Ron Rivera has already said that the team is looking for an “impact player” more than a specific position. Since then we have seen a number of Mock Draft’s that have them taking different players but the idea of Cam Newton going No. 1 overall seems to be gain traction from some “Draft Experts.”
Darin Gantt of the Charlotte Observer reports that Ron Rivera will be attending Auburn’s pro day which may not mean all that much come draft day but it does suggest that the team will give serious consideration to Nick Fairley and Cam Newton.
Both players have question marks that surround them, specifically character/off-the-field issues, but it’s believed by some that their talent and ability are worthy of the risk that drafting them would require.
Fairley showed up at the NFL Combine shorter and lighter than he was listed at but performed really well. Some have questioned whether or not his amazing one-year performance is enough to justify a high section but he is very athletic and plays a coveted position.
As for Newton, his Combine performance was the most scrutinized performance of the entire process. He missed on several passes which has consequently ramped up the speculation that he is an overrated NFL prospect.
Carolina has more roster holes than they can fill during the draft and considering that there isn’t a “homerun” player coming out of the draft, it would make plenty of sense to target the safest overall player. We have LSU CB Patrick Patterson going to the Panthers in our most recent Mock Draft.