With most of the focus in the upcoming NFL draft being on the first few rounds, I thought it would be a little interesting to shift the focus onto the last few rounds of the NFL draft. The first point of interest in my Panther Prospect series is former Auburn Tigers Tight End Philip Lutzenkirchen.
I like Lutzenkirchen for many reasons. He posted decent numbers during the Combine, despite from coming back from an injury he suffered in his final season with the Auburn Tigers. Some of the numbers he posted at Combine were stellar and some were not. His 40-Dash, which clocked in at 4.94 seconds, placed him as the 13th best Tight End out of the 15 Tight Ends who participated in the event. His vertical jump was also not very promising; he posted an official height of 30.5 inches, tied for the worst among the Tight Ends. He did however finish sixth in the bench press and fourth in the 20 yard shuffle.
Though his stats were not exactly promising, they still hold some weight. Lutzenkirchen is also coming off a season ending injury to his hip, an injury he suffered during his final season with the Auburn Tigers in late October of this past year.
However he does hold some records for the Tigers. Lutzenkirchen holds the record for the most touchdowns recorded by a Tight End, in team history and in a single season. He has also proven to be somewhat of a “clutch” player for the Tigers, having caught three game-winning touchdown passes in his storied career for the Tigers.
With all that added up, the one stat that I have not reported is the fact that he reportedly did not drop a single pass during the NFL Combine AND Auburn’s Official Pro Day. Dropped passes seemed to be an issue that plagued the Panthers last year, with Louis Murphy, Steve Smith, and Brandon LaFell all coming to mind. The Panthers also only have one Tight End who focuses on primarily on receiving, Greg Olsen. The Panthers have lost Gary Barnidge to the Cleveland Browns, a Tight End who was kept on the roster as a blocker. Newly resigned Ben Hartsock was also primarily kept as a blocker for Cam Newton. So giving Cam another TE option to consider instead of Greg Olsen would obviously prove as a positive for the Panthers. I’m sure we all remember when we had both Olsen and Jeremy Shockey and how productive that proved for the Panthers.
Lutzenkirchen would be a huge addition to the Panthers roster. Not only is he a huge body to block for Cam Newton, he also seems to have hands that are covered in Elmer’s glue, something the Panthers seem to be in short supply of. I’d really like to see Lutzenkirchen in a Panther’s uniform, and I predict him as a fourth or fifth round pick, maybe even a late third round pick. Plus it would be great to have another interesting name to go along with Captain and Kuechly. I can already imagine hearing the crowd chant, “Lutz!” after a big catch.
So those are my thoughts, but what are yours? Please leave them in the comments below.