The Carolina Panthers don’t know what position they’ll be drafting in yet, but they have a good idea. When April rolls around the Panthers will have the eighth or ninth pick depending on a coin flip that will take place after the playoffs conclude. Drafting eighth would be nice but it won’t be the end of the world if the Panthers fall back a spot, especially considering all of the areas that need to be addressed.
After seeing Oklahoma State’s Justin Blackmon and Alshon Jeffery dominate in yesterday’s games I am now wondering if Carolina should make the leap and draft a receiver. Yes, the position isn’t the biggest need on the roster but it is up there. Steve Smith is a free agent to be after next season and isn’t getting any younger. Drafting the heir apparent wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world. This year’s receiving corps is loaded and should be chalk full of difference makers in the NFL.
There’s a good chance that Blackmon–the best receiver in this class–won’t be available when the Panthers pick, although I can’t say that for certain with how unpredictable the draft can be. How many would have thought that Blaine Gabbert would have fallen to the 10th pick a year ago? Even if Blackmon isn’t on the board there still is a possibility that Carolina goes with a receiver.
Michael Floyd is a name that you probably have heard of but not in the same sentence as a Blackmon or Jeffery. Believe me when I say this: Floyd is going to be a player in the NFL. He has the size, hands and leaping ability to be a future Pro Bowler if he can keep his head on straight. If it weren’t for some off the field issues with Floyd he would be mentioned in the same category as Blackmon and Jeffery.
Those three prospects are the only ones worthy of the eighth or ninth pick. It’s possible that the Panthers could hold off on drafting a receiver and try to snag one later on. Kendall Wright is flying up draft boards after he posted an impressive season and some feel that he could be the next Smith–I’m not necessarily buying into that, but he could be a nice slot receiver. Nick Toon is another name you’ll be hearing about and the same goes for Mohamed Sanu who just declared for the draft today.
Like I said earlier, the draft is loaded at the receiver position but as far as elite prospects go it stops after Blackmon, Jeffery and Floyd. The Panthers will be getting David Gettis back next season and Brandon LaFell will have another year under his belt, which makes the receiver debate such an interesting question. Personally, I would draft Blackmon if he is available in a heartbeat and have to think long and hard about Jeffery and Floyd.
There’s still plenty of time before the draft, so this discussion will continue to rage on in the upcoming months. But what I want to know is what you would do if you were making the decision for the Panthers.
Let me know below.