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January 12, 2012

Early entries make NFL draft deeper at top

Alabama all-Americans Trent Richardson and Dre Kirkpatrick announced their intention to enter April's NFL draft, and both are projected as top-10 picks.

Richardson, a running back, and Kirkpatrick, a cornerback, join Heisman Trophy-winning quarerback Robert Griffin III, also projected to go in the top 10, in declaring themselves eligible this week.

CBSsports.com's list of the top prospects for the draft includes nine juniors in the top 10. The only senior is Penn State defensive lineman Devon Still, at No. 8.

The Panthers are scheduled to select eighth or ninth, pending a coin flip with the Miami Dolphins.

Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck appears headed for the No. 1 pick, which belongs to the Indianapolis Colts.

Others in the current top 5 include Southern Cal offensive lineman Matt Kalil (2), Griffin (3), LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne (4) and Iowa offensive tackle Riley Reiff (5).

Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon (6), Richardson (7), and Stanford guard David DeCastro (9) are in the next group, which also includes three defensive defensive stars, playing to the Panthers' biggest needs: Still (8), Kirkpatrick (10), and North Carolina defensive lineman Quinton Coples (11).

It's early, and much could change after the NFL scouting combine in late February.

Who do you like?

Posted by Observer Sports on January 12, 2012 at 03:38 PM | Permalink



Posted by: JW | Jan 12, 2012 4:08:10 PM

If somehow Blackmon or Claiborne slip to us, that would be ideal. If not, take the best corner on the board in Kirkpatrick.

Posted by: Cmurda | Jan 12, 2012 4:25:21 PM

Anybody but Quitting Coples. Last thing we need is another Tar Heel that only plays hard when he feels like it.

Kirkpatrick or Still would fill a very big need.

Posted by: J | Jan 12, 2012 4:45:34 PM

Best available OL or CB.

Posted by: Nosebleed Fan | Jan 12, 2012 4:59:19 PM

Courtney Upshaw LB Alabama! Plays just like Jon Beason! Impact player! Can trade down and still get him, if Blackmon and Claibourne are gone!

Posted by: joe cool | Jan 12, 2012 5:00:57 PM

Can you imagine our receiving corps with Blackmon and Smitty?? Our offense would be unstoppable. We can go defense through FA and later draft picks

Posted by: JPhanatic10 | Jan 12, 2012 5:28:04 PM

in order claiborne, kirkpatrick or blackmon.... unfortunately i dont think any of them will be there... hey hurnley, after trading away first and second draft pics for people who never have (or will) contribute) how about trading and get one of them.....

Posted by: goobersdad | Jan 12, 2012 5:29:24 PM

Forget offense guys. Defense is THE need. For some reason people keep forgetting that this offense finished #5 in scoring and already scored enough to win at least at least 80% of the losses. You can't afford a first round pick on offense to improve an already very good group when one solid player added on Defense could've changed a number of Losses into Wins! How many more WRs can we draft only to have them underperform???

Remember that WR numbers get inflated in College because the inbounds rule is different!

I'd love to see someone do some serious study on what average percentage of College completions would be incompletes in the NFL. I think it would explain a lot of the struggles of rookie WRs and QBs!

Posted by: John - Harrisburg, NC | Jan 12, 2012 6:11:46 PM

Blackmon shouldn't be there but if he is get him. I wouldn't mind if they take Jeffries either.

Need to add defensive free agents.

Posted by: ripp | Jan 12, 2012 6:50:38 PM

My head says defense, my heart says Blackmon.

Posted by: JM23 | Jan 12, 2012 6:55:18 PM

Gotta sure up that pass rush. Trade down and get Ingram.

Posted by: PantherHead | Jan 12, 2012 7:21:15 PM

I like Alshon Jeffery. Blackmon will be gone and we need a consistant WR2 to back up Smitty. Naanee and LaFell haven't been consistant enough and we rely too much on our TE's. We need a CB, DT, OL, and a LB for our other picks. I know Hurny will waste all our picks though. As always.

Posted by: TheChadd1982 | Jan 13, 2012 6:43:22 AM

Melvin Ingram would be a great add. As would Allen or Gilmore. Go Gamecocks!

Posted by: TheChadd1982 | Jan 13, 2012 6:47:09 AM

There is no chance at Blackmon so I hope you people stop dreaming about him. Jeffries? Ha, homers! The pick should be defense, since that's what lost us most of our games, and if you look at the teams ahead of us, Kirkpatrick should still be there. Dudes a big, fast, tackling corner that's not affraid of contact and could help out on special teams. But I guess the Panthers don't need one of those.

Posted by: Mike P | Jan 13, 2012 7:38:26 AM

@ TheChadd1982,

There you go blaming Marty Hurney for everything. You do realize he's the same GM responsible for drafting Cam Newton, Jon Beason, Thomas Davis, James Anderson, Chris Gamble, Charles Johnson, Ryan Kalil, Jonathan Stewart, DeAngelo Williams, Jordan Gross, and Julius Peppers. That's a pretty darn good track record if you ask me, or almost anyone for that matter! So unless you could do better or see a better GM with more success, then there's no point in insulting our GM by saying he will waste our picks.

Posted by: Jay | Jan 13, 2012 7:50:08 AM

Kirkpatrick or Barron at S (after the Big Cat's comments about Sherrod Martin I am not sure he is here much longer) would be great at that pick. Maybe we can get Hightower in the 2nd round, but that might not happen.
I would love to see Upshaw but I dont think he will be there at that pick - he would be a phenom in our scheme if we move him to SS and Beason in the middle.
I dont think we get a WR unless it is through FA, despite the fact we need one, because Gettis is coming back and Richardson wants to see what we have with Edwards.

Posted by: uncarunr | Jan 13, 2012 10:17:57 AM

I think we must have alshon Jefferies in the first round to complete out offense
then i think Hightower will be available in the second

Posted by: warlord | Jan 13, 2012 11:58:42 AM

Alshon Jeffery or Kirkpatrick would be terrific. I would lean more toward Kirkpatrick since we had a tough time on defense. We got good WR's in Lafell and Gettis coming back and of course theres Smitty!!!

Posted by: Eric | Jan 13, 2012 12:37:35 PM

NC state TJ Graham in the 2nd round at receiver

Posted by: Landon | Jan 13, 2012 12:50:45 PM

I would go with Still or Kirkpatrick... In the second round I would go after Andre Branch or Jerel Worthy if available. The D Line would greatly improve with the addition of Still and Worthy/ Branch!

Posted by: Chris | Jan 13, 2012 1:10:14 PM

After the season he just finished, how in the world is Coples still rated in the top 50, much less #1?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?

Posted by: dbigcat | Jan 13, 2012 1:38:42 PM

Claiborne or Kirkpatrick 1st round, then Hightower in the 2nd.

Posted by: Rick | Jan 13, 2012 1:55:01 PM

@Jay... Wow, a handfull of good picks out of how many over the years? Not to mention our FA debacle. Need to get our old GM back now that he's available from the Colts. Hurney is garbage and most fans know it.

Posted by: TheChadd1982 | Jan 13, 2012 7:18:41 PM

@ TheChadd1982,

A few good picks?!? I'd say that is quite an extensive list. Look at GMs around the league and see how good they've been drafting their own players. While Bill Polian is a good GM, we don't need him in Charlotte right now. To fire Marty Hurney and bring in Polian would be idiotic. Just because Hurney has struggled with FA signings doesn't mean he should be fired all of a sudden.

Posted by: Jay | Jan 13, 2012 11:11:59 PM

@Jay... Just an example, they should have kept Kasay and Marshall. They bring in no-name talent FA's all the time. They keep Marshall and Kasay and we wouldn't be looking for a CB and having kicker problems. I thought it was idiotic dropping Kasay for Mare. That's Hurney for ya.

Posted by: TheChadd1982 | Jan 14, 2012 2:15:53 AM

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