The Carolina Panthers need to add depth to the secondary.
The Carolina Panthers have a lot of decisions to make in the NFL Draft. They have many needs to fill, and only so many draft slots to fill them. In one of their most recent mock drafts, the Charlotte Observer had an interesting fifth-round pick for Carolina.
The pick in question is Notre Dame cornerback Troy Pride Jr. He could immediately fill a projected need in the secondary. There are questions as to whether the Carolina Panthers will pay James Bradberry. His franchise tack is going to cost a reported $16 million. For a rebuilding team like the Panthers, they could probably use that money somewhere else.
Also, getting younger in the secondary isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As this league becomes more of a passing league, youth and speed is going to be the name of the game. Pride certainly has speed. He has a recorded 40-yard dash time of 4.2 seconds. He is on the smaller side of things, as he measures in at five-foot-11, 193 pounds.
However, I wouldn’t worry too much about his size. In this instance, I would sacrifice size for speed. More and more, we are seeing receivers have a tremendous amount of quickness and agility. Just in the NFC South alone, you have guys like Julio Jones, Michael Thomas, and Mike Evans. I think it’s fair to add Chris Godwin into that picture as well. If a guy like Pride can keep up with them, that’s a win in my book. Speed is a must in this secondary.
The statistics aren’t necessarily in his favor either. He tallied just four interceptions and 121 tackles in four years at South Bend.
However, if you are drafting him in the fifth round, he has tremendous value. If you are drafting a player of his caliber in the first or second round, there would definitely be more of a risk involved. However, you cannot go wrong here especially when you consider his upside.
The Panthers should definitely look into drafting Pride for secondary depth and for a backup option in case Bradberry leaves. This would be a low-risk, high-reword draft pick. The Panthers haven’t had many situations where they could take flyers in the draft. This would definitely be one of those situations. I will be interested to see what they do with the later picks. In a rebuilding situation, they could use as much talent as they can get.