« Sources: Panthers might have interest in Robertson | Main | Panthers sign versatile OL Milford Brown »

March 27, 2008

Panthers attend private workout by Mendenhall

0327mendenhall    Carolina Panthers officials held a private workout on campus today with Illinois running back Rashard Mendenhall (5, at right).
   Mendenhall is rated the No. 2 back available in the draft and could be a good fit in the Panthers' offense with his size (5-10, 225 pounds), power and breakaway explosiveness.
   The Panthers have the 13th pick in the first round, and Mendenhall is projected to go somewhere been picks 7 and 15.
   It is believed that Carolina sent its top officials to the workout, including GM Marty Hurney and head coach John Fox.
   This has been a running back-intensive week for the Panthers' pre-draft scouting process. Hurney attended the Arkansas pro day workout on Tuesday, where he got to watch top-rated back Darren McFadden and Felix Jones, who's projected as a late first- or early second-round pick.
   While there has been heavy speculation that the Panthers are targeting an offensive tackle or defensive end in the draft, there's reason to believe they have legitimate interest in picking one of the top running backs.
   Carolina needs a big back to serve as a compliment to DeAngelo Williams in the running game to help balance the offense to take pressure off of quarterback Jake Delhomme and receiver Steve Smith.
   Mendenhall and Oregon's Jonathan Stewart (5-10, 235 pounds) are the top two first-round prospects that fit the big-back description. Stewart's draft stock has slipped some because he recently underwent toe surgery and might not be available to practice until training camp, or even later.
   Mendenhall was named the Big Ten Conference offensive player of the year last season. He rushed for 1,681 yards and on 262 carries (6.4-yard average). He ran for 17 touchdowns and caught two TD passes.
   Because he didn't become a regular starter until his junior season in 2007, Mendenhall enters the NFL with little wear and tear on his body. He had 388 rushes at Illinois.
   Even though he's one of the bigger backs in the draft, Mendenhall ran the 40-yard dash in a swift 4.45 seconds at the NFL scouting combine. He had 26 repetitions in the 225-pound bench press -- double the 13 that McFadden managed at his pro day workout this week. Mendenhall's short shuttle time of 4.18 was the best among backs who performed the drill at the combine.
   -- Charles Chandler

Posted by Observer Sports on March 27, 2008 at 01:29 PM | Permalink


I know going DE or OT is the sound thing to with the 13th pick, but I would be ecstatic with Mendenhall.

Posted by: Shane | Mar 27, 2008 1:46:18 PM

Mendenhall's great, but I still say you never take a QB or an RB with the first round pick. Sure, there are plenty of examples of it working out, but there's so many more of it not working out.

Picking a QB is a crap shoot, and there are plenty of good RBs in later rounds.


Posted by: BullCityDog | Mar 27, 2008 1:51:26 PM

I know we need an LT but it's hard to bypass a playmaker when you have the opportunity to get one. Peterson proved last year how much an outstanding player can change an offense. I doubt we'll have to worry about having the chance to get Mendenhall though...somebody will scoop him up. If we could grab Williams at LT in the first round, then maybe move up in the second and pick Stewart then those two would give us a successful draft in my mind. I look at it though as things that we have to have. We don't have to pick a running back because we have DeAngelo. We don't have to pick a LT because if needed, Wharton can move back outside and we have our pick of guys who can fill either spot at guard. The must have to me in the draft is DL. We don't have another starter opposite Pep on the roster and we have zero depth at DT.

Posted by: JT | Mar 27, 2008 2:03:55 PM

ILL ... INI!

Posted by: Joaquin | Mar 27, 2008 2:13:16 PM

If Mendenhall makes is past the Bronco's which is likely,hes ours.

Posted by: Ghost of Sparta | Mar 27, 2008 2:16:44 PM

you guys can't write for anything...do you realize that Mendenhall outweighs Williams by only 8 pounds? Do those 8 pounds really mean the difference between a little guy who you don't think can carry the load despite setting the NCAA record and a "big back?"

Such hacks. Have you actually heard John Fox or Hurney say they want a big back? It's 8 pounds you morons.

Posted by: John | Mar 27, 2008 2:19:00 PM


I had just about given up hope of the Panthers drafting a RB in the first round.

Posted by: ZZ | Mar 27, 2008 2:35:59 PM

Why did they bring in the guy from Jacksonville if they are looking to draft RBs. Go left tackle - Delhomme is going to get hurt again and we need protection for Moore. Moore is the future.

Posted by: Kelso | Mar 27, 2008 2:43:57 PM

I don't think they will draft a RB in the first round although this kid seems talented. They should pickup a OL or DL and then move on from there. The draft in and of itself is a crap shot. We pick up good first rounders and then what. We took a first overall with Carr and he sucked. The draft is hard to predict who is going to be good, but we should fill our immediate needs and proceed from there.

Posted by: Panthers2003 | Mar 27, 2008 2:46:33 PM

good blog! I hope they go OT in 1st rd. and jonathon stewart 2nd round.

Posted by: Radicaldad | Mar 27, 2008 2:48:14 PM

Harvey stinks, a potential Bad pick.

Posted by: Radicaldad | Mar 27, 2008 2:49:09 PM

John I agree with your point. D-lo is also shorter than Mendenhall.

WHAT IF...Sedrick Ellis slips in the draft? There are players who supposedly are "rising" up draft boards, so that means some one has to go down. He was a beast at the senior bowl and as stated in many blogs, we are light on DT depth. Opinions?

Posted by: Will Parker | Mar 27, 2008 2:51:31 PM

These guys whining about left tackles think that just because they guy was taken in the 1st round that he is an all world left tackle. Williams and Otah are pretenders. I guarantee that the Panthers can still get a good hard working left tackle in the 2nd or 3rd with Mendenhall selected in the 1st.

Posted by: Brainiac | Mar 27, 2008 2:56:30 PM

If the Panther brass can move up during the draft either way will work (1st-LT & 2nd-RB orrr 1st-RB & 2nd-LT). ...Depending on how the chips fall, naturally. I agree with Chandler though, if Mendenhal is available and you don't have a massive LT there, you have to pick him up.

Posted by: SYRPIS | Mar 27, 2008 3:05:54 PM

Ya its true if hes the best talent at the time u gota grab him. Although im thinkn these are just smoke signals to other teams around us in the draft that if they want him they may have to trade to secure him. therefore, more picks for us, and the cards.,lions,and bears all need a back like Mendenhall. So, we woulndt move too many spots and could still snag are real guy...whoever that is? Its all a crap shoot, nobody is a guarante to be a first round talent in this draft except the LONGS, DORSEY, and RYAN. Im thinkn there gone be gone so, if your hurney and fox these picks make or brake you.

Posted by: randy | Mar 27, 2008 3:21:55 PM

Nothing against the guy, he's a great HB and would fit well next to Williams but we need a Tackle, hopefully LT but RT is acceptable since Gross can play both..or a DE we don't have a good guy there... a back should be second priority

Posted by: Sir Auron | Mar 27, 2008 3:59:07 PM

You guys are going to cry like babies when your Ot and De picks in the first turn out to be wrong,again.Are most of you just Mock Draft sheep or what?

Posted by: Stroker Ace | Mar 27, 2008 4:15:02 PM

Also it's a 2 back league,sometimes 3 if you ask the Giants.Who are the Panthers 2 backs?

Posted by: Stroker Ace | Mar 27, 2008 4:17:42 PM

I tellin you guys.... Mendenhal is a good fit. My opinion JOHNSON (link below) is much better but.. time will tell. Either is MUCH more valuable than ONE guy of FIVE on a much deeper O-line than our RB situation. Oh and John, no offense dude but you're not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Have you seen Mendenhal run? Have you seen Williams in practice live? No? Williams is a pansy when it comes to short yardage, head down, north- south running. The insinuation with "big back" isn't BIG, so much as, not small AND willing to get tough yards... not dance around like a fairy and loose three on third and ONE.

Posted by: handyman | Mar 27, 2008 4:33:04 PM

sorry... check THIS RB out! (cut and paste address)


Posted by: handyman | Mar 27, 2008 4:41:47 PM

Carolina will do like Carolina does every year in the Draft. Pick the Best Available Player at 13. Yes they have needs but it is still a long time before the season starts and as other teams draft Offensive lineman etc, they will also have to release some.

Posted by: chknwing | Mar 27, 2008 5:01:48 PM

I agree with john! This guy is 8 pounds heavier than Williams and around an inch taller. What does this do for us? Are we assuming that we waisted a draft pick on williams? He hasn't even gotten the chance to shine. I think he has the ability to become one of the elite backs in the NFL. His size is not an issue. Was barry sanders a "big Back", or Emmit Smith, or LT. The list goes on. We don't need a 1st round RB. We need a solid tackle and some D-line help. We can pick up a decent back later in the draft to compliment williams.They will be around (willie parker for example). Just b/c you're a first rounder doesn't mean you can be a difference maker in the NFL. RBs are often busts. OL or DL! We would be wasting our pick if we get mendenhall. It doesn't matter if you can outrun god himself if you don't have a solid line to open up the holes for you. Anyone know what happened to edgerin James? My point exactly. We don't need flashy difference makers right now. We have them in smith and wiliams. We need beefy athletic linemen to keep jake healthy and let williams run wild. I say we go Ot in the first round. DE or DT in the second. FS and RB in the third. And keep WR/return man, TE, DT, G, and FB in the later rounds. Please don't waste this pick on mendenhall. Start with the meant and potatoes, literaly. Once we have a dominant OL and DL everything else will fall into place.

Posted by: Jake | Mar 27, 2008 5:16:35 PM

Jake, you and John don't know Jack. You need to hit the film room again. Mendenhall is the best runningback in the 2008 NFL draft. He would be the perfect addition to the Panthers.

Posted by: Brainiac | Mar 27, 2008 5:35:11 PM

Remember....in the NFL, it's not just about size. So what if Mendenhall is only 8 lbs heavier or 1" taller than Do-Lo, it's all about running style. I haven't seen enough film to see if Mendenhall is a power back, but if he's consistently run through defenses and go to the gut, per say, then you can say he's a power back as well. Do-Lo has always been known as a run to the outside type of player. His speed and size allow him to be the elusive back that he is, but he is NOT a power back. He falls 3 yards short when he's hit.

I don't know about Mendenhall, but if his mechanics are right and he hits the pocket with alot of force and power, then he's just as good a power back as we can hope he is. Fact is, it's not about size that makes you a power back, but rather, the mechanics.

Do-Lo falls back so much when he's hit because he's not ready to take that hit. That's not to say that he isn't a good RB or isn't #1. According to the Panthers, he's our #1, but we need someone to complement him and split carries. The Panthers, and just about all of us know that Do-Lo won't be able to sustain 25-30 carries per game and continue with the kind of production he's had with his bursts of speed. WE need someone like Mendenhall to get us those 3-4 yards per carry during the course of the game so that Do-Lo can do his thing and burst for 50 yards on one carry when the opponent defense is tired. Game over if he can do that pretty consistently.

Posted by: Kenneth | Mar 27, 2008 5:43:00 PM

Jake,By drafting Mendenhall no1 is saying that they made a mistake or that he cant carry the load,its just the simple fact that you need 2 Hb in the NFL now days and lets just say that DLo gets injured(God Forbid) then what?You think a career backup in Toefield along with a concussion case and a carerr practice team player are going to get the job done?Hell no.DLo deserves to be the starter and will,but they need another spectacular option to give him a breather or spell him in case of injury.Mendenhall is that guy and this is the perfect time.If they dont get the back this year,they will have to next year and the Rb corp's in next years draft are nowhere as good and the availabilty sucks.

Posted by: Ghost of Sparta | Mar 27, 2008 5:53:51 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.