The 2015 NFL Draft is not until April 30 of next year, but it’s never too early to glance ahead to see what’s on the horizon. Every Friday, CatCrave.com will toss a player out, give some analysis and see how he would fit on this roster. I have no clue where in the draft Carolina will select, but I’m going under the guise that we will be selecting somewhere between 17-28. As nice as Cedric Ogbuehi or Leonard Williams would be, they will come off the board very quickly. So, these picks are me trying to be realistic of both our needs and where we will likely be drafting.
When I first started chronicling the potential players that the Carolina Panthers could select in the 2015 NFL Draft, I honestly didn’t think they would be in range to select Stanford offensive tackle, Andrus Peat.
Much has changed in Carolina this season, as they are currently staring at an underwhelming 3-6-1 record and on life support for the playoffs. If the NFL Draft were to happen today, the Panthers would be selecting 11th overall.
Andrus Peat should be off the board within the top-15 picks of the draft, so if Carolina is in position to select this beast of an OL, they need to run to the podium if he is still available.
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Towering at 6’7″ and 313-pounds, Peat is as well-rounded of a tackle that I have seen on tape in awhile. Some tackles excel at pass protection, but can’t open holes in the run game. Conversely, some are road grading tackles that blow open alleyways, but can’t keep the quarterback off his back.
Peat is an imposing tackle that is a gifted athlete, with incredible footwork. He is an ideal left tackle that is capable of dominating opposing defensive ends. Blessed with long arms and a tall frame, Peat walls off would-be-rushers like it’s nothing.
Cam Newton is getting pummeled in the pocket this year, if you could even call what protection he has, as a “pocket”. Grabbing an offensive lineman like Peat would be a huge gift for Newton, after the garbage that they put in front of him this year.
The Stanford left tackle is not just a beast in the passing game. With his quick lateral movement and strong athleticism, Peat is equally adept at opening holes for the running backs.
Remember Tyler Gaffney, Cat Crave Nation?
Yeah, the running back that exploded for 1,709 yards and 21 touchdowns at Stanford in 2013. Well, Andrus Peat was a major reason for the productive season. Former Stanford offensive guard David Yankey was purposely moved inside, from originally playing the tackle position because of Peat’s potential at tackle.
Peat reminds me of a more athletic D’Brickashaw Ferguson, but Stanford Head Coach David Shaw has even higher praise. According to an NFL.com interview with Shaw, he compares Peat to Hall of Fame lineman Jonathan Ogden.
One of the better glimpses of Peat’s true abilities is against future NFL talent. Check out this video of Peat going against a future first round pick, Shilique Calhoun –
Watching Peat, you immediately see an explosive initial step and punch. His long arms and incredible strength are apparent, and he is great at sealing off the edge. Peat looks like a brick wall that defenders will struggle to get around. He will be a great LT to have for Cam in the shotgun too. Peat’s length will allow the offensive line to create a nice warm pocket for the deep drops that Newton likes to take.
His athleticism in the screen game and getting to the next level is my favorite aspect of his game. He might be 6-foot-7-inches tall, but he trucks out into the open field with ease. Peat is also a bully when engaging defenders. I love how he isn’t scared to be physical and doesn’t avoid contact.
“I don’t know if there’s been anybody else in our conference, in the last eight years, that is as good as Andrus Peat has been and can be. In my entire career, nine years in the NFL, the only offensive lineman that was a step above of where Andrus can be is Jonathan Ogden — one of the best tackles to ever play,” – David Shaw, Staford Head Coach (ESPN.com)
Peat is not without faults, as any collegiate player is.
He tries to anticipate a little too much and can get caught leaning too much. This can take him out of plays too early and affect the protection or blocking that the quarterback expects. Peat also can stand too upright at times, and get knocked back by a speed rush.
Both of these negatives can be coached up and he is still relatively young, having just turned 21-years old earlier this month. His ceiling is still pretty high, so look for him to continue to improve his overall game over the next few years.
To say that left tackle is the biggest weakness is no shock to anyone. Carolina is dying for a franchise LT that can protect Cam Newton for the next decade. Byron Bell is clearly not the answer and has been an absolute disaster at left tackle. Bell is a backup in this league and should not be starting on an NFL roster, unless it’s an emergency.
Newton deserves a left tackle and if the Panthers are in a position to draft Andrus Peat, they need to grab him.
It’s rare for such a gifted player with a clean background and brilliant mind to be available. If David Shaw’s comparison is correct, the Panthers could have an instant Jonathan Ogden on their hands. They could seal up the right tackle spot in free agency and roll out an offensive line of:
Not too shabby. Young, strong and can be together for a long time.
Andrus Peat has the makings of a cornerstone LT that a franchise can build around. If he continues to dominate players like he has in 2014, he could leapfrog Cedric Ogbuehi and Brandon Scherff as the top tackle taken in the 2015 NFL Draft. It’s hard to find a player with the imposing measurables, balanced skillset, intelligence, and determination to be the best that Peat has.