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March 24, 2008

ESPN2 mock draft: The Panthers select ...

  Participated in a Mock Draft on ESPN2's "First Take" this morning and was surprised to find three top offensive tackles available at Pick No. 13 along with Florida defensive end Derrick Harvey.

  "First Take" asked beat writers from every NFL city to participate and to make the selection that they thought the teams they covered would make. Apparently, one pick is being made per weekday leading up to the draft.

  The Panthers would love to have the buffet table that I found today when asked to make the No. 13 selection. The only offensive tackle who had been selected was Michigan's Jake Long.

  That meant the tackles still on the board were Boise State's Ryan Clady, Vanderbilt's Chris Williams and Pittsburgh's Jeffrey Otah. So was Harvey, the Gators' pass-rushing specialist.

  It is almost inconceivable that that foursome will actually be avalable when the Panthers' turn to pick comes on April 26.

  My pick was Clady. He's a left tackle who is projected by some draft analysts to be a top 5 or top 10 pick. Panthers officials attended his March 3 workout and had lunch with him.

  If the Panthers get Clady, they can switch Travelle Wharton to left guard and probably leave Jordan Gross at right tackle instead of moving him to the left side.

  Here's a look of the first 13 picks as they went on "First Take." Just for fun, who would you have taken at No. 13 based on the way writers around the country made the first 12 picks as listed here?

1. Miami -- Chris Long, Virginia DL
2. St. Louis -- Jake Long, Michigan OT
3. Atlanta -- Glenn Dorsey, LSU DT
4. Oakland -- Vernon Gholston, Ohio State DE
5. Kansas City -- Sedrick Ellis, USC DT
6. New York Jets -- Darren McFadden, Arkansas RB
7. New England -- Aquib Talib, Kansas CB
8. Baltimore -- Matt Ryan, Boston College QB
9. Cincinnati -- Phillip Merlin, Clemson DE
10. New Orleans -- Leodis McKelvin, Troy CB
11. Buffalo -- Malcolm Kelly, Oklahoma WR
12. Denver -- Rashard Mendenhall, Illinois RB
13. Carolina -- Ryan Clady, Boise State OT

-- Charles Chandler

Posted by Observer Sports on March 24, 2008 at 03:04 PM | Permalink

Comments

I would have taken Chris Williams. He played in a much tougher conference and gave up only 2 sacks in the last 2 years that covered nearly 900 snaps. I know Wonderlic scores aren't supposed to mean much, but Williams had the highest score among the linemen (32), while Clady only had a 13. Franchise type LT's are hard to come by and I think Williams will be one.

Posted by: Eddie Ellis | Mar 24, 2008 3:25:34 PM

If 3 of the top 4 OTs were still available at #13 along with DE Harvey, then I would have traded down 8-10 spots to draft the best available OT still on the board and gained an extra second round pick to address FS and DE in that round.

Posted by: Brandon | Mar 24, 2008 3:27:48 PM

Williams, hands down. For the reasons Eddie stated above...the guy played against top notch competition in the SEC and he's ready to go. Not to mention the fact that playing on blue turf is just wrong.

Posted by: JT | Mar 24, 2008 3:32:31 PM

Denver has the right idea. Mendenhall is going to be a superb pro. The offensive tackle position is VERY deep. You can get a starting tackle in the second or even third round. A guy like Same Baker of Carl Nicks. Clady will be a good pro but he is not dominant. He tends to get pushed back on pass protection.

Posted by: Hardhead McGruff | Mar 24, 2008 3:34:12 PM

CHRIS WILLIAMS

Height: 6-6 | Weight: 315 | 40-Time: 5.17

Strengths:
An outstanding athlete...Quick and agile...Has nimble feet...Great size with a large frame and room to get bigger..Does a fantastic job in pass protection...Mobile and can get to the second level...Very smart with good awareness...Versatile and has played both guard and tackle...Team leader...Durable and has a lot of experience.

Weaknesses:
Questionable intensity and motor...Must get stronger...Needs to be more physical and aggressive...Doesn't get a great push...Technique needs polishing...May lack a killer instinct...Not a finished product and will need development...Not dominant.

Posted by: Ryan Clady | Mar 24, 2008 3:40:24 PM

You made the right pick Chuck! Clady is the way to go. He is a monster. I don't understand the love affair with Williams. He and Clady are very similar, but Clady is more athletic and a 'Franchise' LT. Saying he played against tougher competition in the SEC is a stupid point. Steve Smith played for Utah, Dwayne Jarrett played for USC in the very solid Pac 10....enough said.

Posted by: Jake | Mar 24, 2008 3:51:07 PM

I agree with Brandon, I think the Panthers would try to trade at this point to gain another 2nd or 3rd rounder. Why not? Getting solid position players and added depth at key positions can only provide a winning program.

Posted by: foxwcl | Mar 24, 2008 3:53:52 PM

I say Chris Williams..Hopefully get a 5th round from New England if they sign Seward. Trade one of our 3rd round pickms and taht 5th round to get a high 2nd round pick. Take the best DL available then with the other 3rd round pick either get a RB of a free safety.

Posted by: JV | Mar 24, 2008 3:56:19 PM

Anybody remember a guy named Tony Mandarich that was a "can't miss" offensive lineman that went Number 2 in the draft? Teams were slobbering over this guy! Up until Ryan Leaf, this guy defined draft day busts. Ask any Packer fan and they'll tell you that ANY draft choice is a gamble, and it's especially true with left tackles. I'd venture a guess that is the reason Carolina will have their choice of a couple when it gets to 13.

I agree with Brandon. If all that beef is still on tha board, trade down and take a couple of second round picks. Quality of picks matters, but so does quantity of picks before Number 100.

Posted by: Panther Fan in GA | Mar 24, 2008 3:59:39 PM

Im down with Brandon as well...if that many tackles are still on board trade down and snag more picks. Not too far though, we still need to draft accordingly. Although, i just cant see the chiefs going without a LT in this draft, same as the broncos. Why would they get a first round back? they get production out of anyone.

Posted by: randy | Mar 24, 2008 4:15:49 PM

Maybe we should trade our 1st round pick to the Giants for their first rounder and David Carr so that our D-Line can work on sacking a quarterback in practice...he always goes down! What better motivation for our D!

Posted by: foxwcl | Mar 24, 2008 4:43:40 PM

Trade down! Clady is one dimensional (pass blocker) and Williams has stubs for arms and can't run block either. Fox and Hurney are making the power running game THE off season priority. My pick would be Jonathan Stewart. He is a rare back with all the tangibles and intangibles. Forte is the only other viable power back option and he could be gone by our 2nd. Stewart would be unstoppable with D'Will. His toe surgery could drop him a few picks and I'd try and pick him up in the low 20's. If he's gone I'd go Brandon Albert. He's got all the tools to be a BEAST and could even play OT. Signing a OL too early in the draft would be a reach considering the talent and would also tie up too much money in the OL. All that being said, I really hope we trade up and draft Sedrick Ellis and say Aloha to Maake. We have 2 DL on the roster. TWO!

Posted by: gradyhog | Mar 24, 2008 4:44:14 PM

I think arm length is important in the trenches. Chris Williams seems like a good pick because I think he has potential. When he was recruited he was a 2star lineman who weighed 260 lbs. He has been constantly improving and that should not change in the NFL. But it is a risky pick because NFL DE's might be able to flat out dominate him. I just hope Hurney does his homework.

Posted by: James327 | Mar 24, 2008 5:09:40 PM

Clady is a bust waiting to happen...only scored a 13 on the Wonderlic which means he is DUMB!!! Williams from Vandy is very intelligent and almost as highly rated.

I would vote with the trade down group or select Jonathan Stewart.

Posted by: ZZ | Mar 24, 2008 5:24:47 PM

If those tackles were still available I would have to think that the next level group of tackles like Cherilus would drop to the second round and could be had then. The defensive ends will not last that long. Take Harvey.

Posted by: Ron | Mar 24, 2008 5:59:37 PM

u guys got 2 remember that the bigger the offensive linemen r the harder it is for QB to throw it

Posted by: paul | Mar 24, 2008 6:08:37 PM

Ron makes a good point. Also, on related OT news...

http://www.carolinagrowl.com/Read.aspx?Story=542

STAN.... Can we get some more details on the number crunch going on between the Gross camp and the Panther brass?

Does anyone feel that after two years of failed contract negotiations, coupled with a good crop of OT's in this year's draft, Gross should be traded??

Posted by: SYRPIS | Mar 24, 2008 6:45:55 PM

With the 13 Pick the Carolina Panthers, Select: Runningback, Jonathan Stewart from Oregon.

Jonathan Stewart has an NFL type body. Jonathan Stewart has the speed to go outside and it takes more than one tackler to bring him down. Jonathan Stewart is a quiet kid who lets his actions speak for themselves, and has a devastating second gear that gives him great acceleration. Quite simply, many football pundits consider Jonathan Stewart the top running back prospect in the country and easily the highest rated offensive player.

The first thing that jumps out at you with Jonathan Stewart is his size. Jonathan Stewart shouldn’t be described as a blazer but he has good speed and quickness for his size. The second impressive attribute with regards to Jonathan Stewart, and perhaps his best attribute, is his balance. For a 230-pounder Jonathan Stewart has amazing balance.

Posted by: Brad Brinkley | Mar 24, 2008 6:54:32 PM

I find it hard to believe Merling will go 9 (he just had groin surgery) or Malcolm Kelly will go 11 (hasn't worked out at all this offseason). But these local guys know more than we do so who knows.
It may be hard for the Panthers to trade down this year (rumors have Buffalo and N.O. also wanting to trade down), but I agree that may be the way to go. Pick up Otah or Cherilus a few spots down. That being said, I think Clady is going to be an excellent LT in this league. Ok he's dumb and that worries me a little too, but I've watched a lot of film on this guy and he's a mauler. Williams sounds good on paper, but he's got stubby short arms and I would describe his game film as "boring". In my opinion he'll be a serviceable lineman in the league but never a pro bowler. I think Clady and Otah (the guy worked out at the combine on a high ankle sprain) have much more upside.
Here is how I'd like to see the draft go, assuming no trades:
1- Clady
2- take the best available DT between Dre Moore, Kentwan Balmer or Trevor Laws
3- take Ray Rice RB, Rutgers and Dejaun Morgan FS, NC State if they are available
4- Chris Ellis DE, Virginia Tech or Harrington DE, Texas A&M
5- Owen Schmitt FB WVU or Peyton Hillis FB Arkansas
5-

Posted by: Chad | Mar 24, 2008 6:56:34 PM

Nice Stats but could mean nothing if he doesn't hel from off season surgery.

Posted by: JayJ6 | Mar 24, 2008 6:59:04 PM

Nice Stats but could mean nothing if he doesn't heal from off season surgery.

Posted by: JayJ6 | Mar 24, 2008 6:59:18 PM

I could live with Chad's picks.

Posted by: JayJ6 | Mar 24, 2008 7:00:28 PM

I know arm length is a concern and should be something that is looked into, but the decision should not be made on that alone. I mean the biggest strength of Rashad Butler when we drafted him in the 3rd round was his long arms and look where that got him......

I think Fox and Hurney will make the right decision between either Clady or Williams (at least I hope so) if they are both available at 13. I think the Bears take whoever we don't with the following pick. And even though the OT poistion might be deep doesn't discount the fact that pass protection is at a premium these days and all those guys (Cherilus, Baker, Nicks, etc.) I am "thinking" or "hoping" will slide or fall to us in the 2nd round could be long gone by the time it's our turn to pick again.


Posted by: rhackney | Mar 24, 2008 7:00:34 PM

I like those too, but Ray Rice is like 5'9; 195 lbs. He is almost 25 pounds smaller than D-Will. I think we need a bigger back in order to compliment DeAngelo....

Posted by: rhackney | Mar 24, 2008 7:04:37 PM

The problem with gambling and waiting that a good OT will fall to the Panthers in the 2nd round is a lot of the teams (dolphins, rams, kc, denver) at the top of the 2nd will likely be drafting tackles...if they don't go tackle in the first. Also there's a good chance SD goes tackle in the first so that takes another one away.

Posted by: Chad | Mar 24, 2008 7:09:53 PM

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