As Super Bowl Ends, Fans Eyes Turn Draftward


Sunday’s Super Bowl ranks near the top in terms of exciting plays with a couple of Jacoby Jones highlights for sure…when they have lights, that is. Yeah, this one had to rank as the most bizarre one in history, Garo Yepremian aside. One team celebrates, another mourns and licks its wounds for next season, and thirty others have been hard at work studying the playoff teams in their entirety and hopefully pick up on what they all do well.

Meanwhile, some of the more die-hard fans have been watching the bowl games and the college all-star games with eyes on whom they think might “be there” for their favorite squad. Panthers fans are no exception, and General Manager David Gettleman has been hard at work since his hiring. Like all GMs are now doing, he’s trying to get some consensus on the evaluation of the talent crop coming out of college this year.

Having said that, it’s a bit early to say who might be the top pick, let alone the 14th one where Carolina selects. If last year is any indication, draft day trades throw all the pundits’ mock drafts into the shredder. With no obvious franchise quarterbacks available in the 2013 draft, Kansas City may find it hard to wiggle out through a trade. It’s all very muddy especially compared with last year. At least we knew who the top two would be.

Certainly not so this year, but what difference does it make to Carolina fans? It’s 2013, not 2011 when they had the top pick.

I was thinking about this before the Super Bowl. Less trade interest up high means possibly more demand later as the top talent at any particular position starts getting more scarce. It could also mean more opportunity for Carolina to move up or down the board depending on their needs and how their scouts rank the field.

Right now, I’m holding hope that somehow the Carolina Panthers can get their hands on Alabama guard Chance Warmack even if they have to hop a few spots to do it. He’s that one guy I see at this point who is as likely to become a Pro Bowl guard as anyone and several of the nationally-known analysts claim he’s the best guard prospect they’ve seen in a number of years.

If that’s the case, why not do everything reasonable to grab him?

It’s quite possible that when all is said and done and because of the lack of a quarterback in this year’s draft that looks like he can start on opening day, Warmack could well go in the top ten. Mark my words. Yes, he’s an interior lineman and no, they rarely go higher than the middle of round one, but this guy is as special as anyone in the draft. He’s just not at a sexy position.

That very “unsexy” position, either guard spot, frankly, is where the biggest issue on the Panthers’ offensive line was. Right tackle wasn’t much better but I don’t yet know how long they’ll last. Perhaps the kid from Texas A&M will be around at 14, perhaps not. That Utah defensive tackle should be long gone, so I don’t have my hopes up for him at all.

Could or should we jump from 14 to say…11 for one of those guys? Probably, if they’re as good as advertised. The combine will help narrow the focus on some guys. Watch out for that linebacker from BYU to dazzle the combine-watchers. A couple of others still will make a name there while others fall from grace.

Yep, I left out the names for a reason. We really don’t have a clue as to the top ten, unlike most years. Not even the top five or six as we usually do. I could pick a top ten and 3 or 4 might be there someplace on draft day. The good news for Panthers fans is it looks like at least some of their “need” positions will be available and depending on their rankings vs. the actual draft board, they might wind up with someone that they really wanted at a value.

The bad news?

The Panthers have so many needs they might have too many names to choose from.

Better not miss…Mr. Gettleman PLEASE don’t miss!

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