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January 19, 2012

Mel Kiper: Dre Kirkpatrick a fit for Panthers

Like most NFL observers, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper looks at the Carolina Panthers and sees that their biggest needs are on defense.

The Panthers have a number of holes they could look to plug on a defense that gave up more points and yards than any team in franchise history. Kiper thinks the Panthers could use a pass-rushing defensive end or a big-time defensive tackle.

But in his first mock draft on ESPN.com, Kiper predicts the Panthers will take Alabama cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick with the No. 8 pick (the Panthers and Miami will have a coin flip to determine the 8th and 9th picks).

If you think about corner opposite (Chris) Gamble, you need it. And Kirkpatrick, that's where he was projected to go in that range,” Kiper said today on a conference call with reporters.

Kiper said the Panthers could be interested in North Carolina DE Quinton Coples if he's still available at 8/9, but thinks taking South Carolina DE Melvin Ingram that high might be a bit of a reach.

At defensive tackle, Kiper said LSU's Michael Brockers and Memphis' Dontari Poe are two players who could become top-10 picks based on their workouts and performances at the combine.

You could see a Poe or Brockers” go to the Panthers, Kiper said. “But I went with Kirkpatrick at this stage because it's a key need area opposite Gamble. And that's the range in the draft where he figures to go.”

Kiper said it's too early to know how Kirkpatrick's arrest this week on marijuana possession will affect his draft status, adding teams will make their own determinations on his character based on their background work and interviews with him.

Kiper said he's not as high on Kirkpatrick as other draft experts. Kiper does not believe Kirkpatrick is a shut-down corner, but is very good in run support.

--Joseph Person

Posted by Observer Sports on January 19, 2012 at 02:07 PM | Permalink


Checked him out in the BCS title game and he was a horrible tackler. Not sure if he was instructed to try and strip the ball all game, but he never attempted to tackle anyone around the legs. I would pass on him.

Posted by: Robert Popoff | Jan 19, 2012 2:58:30 PM

Thanks for that astute analysis Robert Popoff. How about you join me, Jerry and Ron in the war room on draft day and make our picks for us?

Posted by: Marty Hurney | Jan 19, 2012 3:02:09 PM

Today is the worst day of my life

Posted by: An ___ Employee | Jan 19, 2012 3:03:22 PM

"Viper Kiper" is an idiot who has no credibility in my opinion after some of the draft predictions he's made in recent years in regards to the Panthers. Let's not forget how he trumped up Jimmy Clausen because of his personal relationship with the now deaceased agent Gary Whichard. Let's also not forget how he thoroughly bashed Cam Newton all the way up to draft day b/c of poor mechanics, and lack of understanding of a pro-style offense. Just because ESPN annoints these guys doesn't mean we should take stock into what they think about a player. With that being said, Dre Kirkpatrick wouldn't be a bad pick but i'd rather have Claiborne from LSU.

Posted by: Diddy | Jan 19, 2012 3:24:53 PM

The Panthers don't need a DE. DT and CB, definitely.

Posted by: wes.mantooth | Jan 19, 2012 3:48:22 PM

i dont even like football

Posted by: rick flair | Jan 19, 2012 3:54:00 PM


Posted by: Nick | Jan 19, 2012 3:56:20 PM

Diddy, I agree with your remarks regarding Kiper. He's lost credibility to me, and all I hear out of his mouth is blah, blah, blah.
Regarding Cam, mostly EVERYONE was wrong on him. I am interested in seeing the direction this team goes knowing they want to move to a 3-4 eventually. I'd like to see a starting corner out of this draft, whether it's Kirkpatrick or Claiborne. Captain just isn't more than a nickle guy, but I like his determination.

Posted by: DaveT | Jan 19, 2012 3:59:24 PM

If they are moving to a 3-4 it's Melvin Ingram then

Posted by: Nick | Jan 19, 2012 4:05:07 PM

Claiborne will be gone. I love Blackmon, but the pick has got to be Kirkpatrick, or those two DT's kiper mentioned or Still from Penn State. All picks need to be on defense, unless we scoop up some depth on the OL in rounds 5-7.

Posted by: johnboy | Jan 19, 2012 4:09:27 PM

"Kiper does not believe Kirkpatrick is a shut-down corner"

Uh, ok...next. Panthers have plenty of scrub, non-shutdown corners. Last thing we need is another Gamble, Munnerlyn....oh wait that's all Hurney has on the roster right now that he drafted. PATHETIC!

Posted by: Ron | Jan 19, 2012 4:23:30 PM

We had a great young corner in Richard Marshall and let him walk. Did not want to pay the dough, so we settled for the Captain. Now, we will have to pay a top 10 rookie (unproven)more than Marshall would have cost anyway. Absolutely brilliant!

Posted by: YeahRight | Jan 19, 2012 4:32:50 PM

Every time I read anything attributed to Kiper, I think of the Colts exec (I think it was the Colts) who heard that Kiper lambasted his #1 pick. He said, "Who the hell is Mel Kiper? Has he ever scored a TD? Has he ever made a tackle?"

At least Mike Mayock has played in the NFL. He was dead wrong about Cam, but pretty much everyone except us Auburn shills were dead wrong about Cam...

Posted by: J | Jan 19, 2012 4:39:18 PM

I know everyone's down on the defense, and it'll definitely warrant attention, but there's always also free agency. With no Suh in this year's draft, are any young, promising DTs going to offer more than the two we just got last year for the next couple of years? Same with Hogan at CB, depending on the staff's opinion of him from practice, and how excited they are by players like Kirkpatrick. My dream pick is Matt Kalil, though he'll be gone. But there are a good three or four top-10 worthy OTs, and that's where the real value is. Otah is never going to stay healthy, and a good OT can start as a rookie and go for 10 years! Just look at Gross, who I believe was the 8th pick when we drafted him. For our pick of this crop, that would give us instant improvement we couldn't necessarily get from any other position in the draft. Then either Edwards gets healthy or we sign his equivalent, leave our young D-line to develop like they should've all along, sign a starter at OLB to replace Davis while he attempts to rehab on a restructured contract, and make CB the big-splash free agent for the season. Voila! Better at each phase of the defense with minimal investment and a shored-up O-line for Cam and the boys to run behind. I'd also look for a starting-quality WR free agent, but maybe an older one, because Gettis and LaFell have real starting potential if we can just take the pressure off of them a little bit. Anyway, there's my two cents...

Posted by: Jones | Jan 19, 2012 4:44:35 PM

He can't tackle? Marty Hurney will trade up for him.

Posted by: Scott | Jan 19, 2012 5:13:43 PM

youtube Dre Kirkpatrick...that is all

Posted by: crunchy | Jan 19, 2012 5:18:40 PM

Bring Back Richard Marshall!!!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: Robert | Jan 19, 2012 5:21:58 PM

Marshall would have played for what we payed Thomas Davis not too..... He is an unrestricted free agent give him a 3 year deal. You can still draft Kirkpatrick because we will be living in Nickle and dime Because this offense is going to score points..

Posted by: Robert | Jan 19, 2012 5:25:26 PM

I'm not saying we pass on a corner but I do think we need to consider the potential for Brandon Hogan to start at CB opposite Gamble. I think our biggest need is OLB as Thomas Davis can't be counted on due to his unfortunate injuries. We also need a veteran S to play alongside Godfrey, Martin has to go.

Posted by: Joseph | Jan 19, 2012 6:41:38 PM

Yeah right, "YeahRight"...Richard Marshall? Really? Passing on him was one of the best decisions panthers ever made. He was good as a rookie but then quickly went down - maybe due to lack of coaching but no tears here for him!

Agree with Jones - no sure DT in draft so look at free agents. Kalil will most definitely not last to panthers pick but that would be sweet!

Posted by: ColdInNY | Jan 19, 2012 6:50:55 PM

Coples..? and I'm big Tarheel fan. Gotta be kidding. Never take a DE.

Posted by: Pat Cagle | Jan 19, 2012 7:25:13 PM

Kirkpatrick,poe,or jeffery

Posted by: panther lo | Jan 19, 2012 8:37:56 PM

He will be gone by the time Carolina picks.

Posted by: par404 | Jan 19, 2012 9:03:50 PM

I know this might sound crazy to most of yall but i dont think carolina should go defence i really think we should go WR blackmond or alshon B/C we had 17 player on IR I think everbody bck on defence a trade for asante from da eagles for dan cornor and a daft pick i think this is best for da panther

Posted by: clark kent | Jan 19, 2012 9:33:16 PM

Roll that big fat doobie and he'll be here.

Posted by: john holmes | Jan 19, 2012 9:49:18 PM

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