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April 11, 2013

Kiper: Swearinger a fit at safety for Panthers

If it's the middle of April, it must be time for another Mel Kiper mock draft.

Or conference call.

Or both.

ESPN's omnipresent draft guru believes the Panthers will look to fortify their defense not just with their first-round pick, but with their second pick, as well.

In his latest mock, Kiper has Carolina taking Missouri DT Sheldon Richardson with the 14th pick, then selecting South Carolina safety D.J. Swearinger in the second round with the 44th overall pick.

The Panthers had trouble at the safety spot last season, when Haruki Nakamura was burned in a couple of crucial situations and eventually lost his starting job. Sherrod Martin, his replacement, blew out his knee late in the season.

Martin is a free agent this offseason, and the Panthers are not interested in bringing him back.

Instead, they signed former Oakland safety Mike Mitchell to a 1-year deal and told him he would compete at strong safety, where D.J. Campbell – last year's seventh-round pick – ended the 2012 season as the starter.

Charles Godfrey has played both safety spots, and Panthers coach Ron Rivera is comfortable playing him at either position.

Swearinger ran the 40-yard dash in 4.68 and 4.65 seconds at South Carolina's recent pro day and looked good in the position drills, according to NFL.com's Gil Brandt.

At 5-10 and 205 pounds, Swearinger is not terribly big. But having covered him when he was a freshman at South Carolina, I can vouch that he is a big hitter with a knack for finding the football.

Kiper's take:

He was productive. He’s a good football player, second-round pick. The bottom line is when you look at the safeties in that second group, after you look at the top three, which are (Kenny) Vaccaro, (Matt) Elam, and (Jonathan) Cyprien, in no particular order, the fourth safety off the board could be D.J. Swearinger. Looking at that spot, I gave him to Carolina at 44. I think he’s a solid second-rounder now.”

--Joseph Person

Posted by Observer Sports on April 11, 2013 at 04:21 PM | Permalink


This is who he thinks the Panthers should take, not who they will take. There's a difference. The Panthers don't appear to be looking too hard at Richardson. My prediction is Vacarro in Rd 2 and Bailey in Rd. 2

Posted by: PantherHead | Apr 11, 2013 4:26:36 PM

It matters not. 4-12 is the best we can hope for next year. We will struggle to win even one game in the division. One more year to play on this disaster of a team Cam, then you can move onto a real squad.

Posted by: Realist | Apr 11, 2013 4:40:55 PM

It matters not. 4-12 is the best we can hope for next year. We will struggle to win even one game in the division. One more year to play on this disaster of a team Cam, then you can move onto a real squad.

Posted by: Realist | Apr 11, 2013 4:40:55 PM

Safety makes sense, especially in the second round. However, pre-draft interviews are really suggesting that Gettleman plans on taking a WR in the first or second round. It just seems crazy that this team would once again pass on addressing the DT position early, particularly in a draft this deep.

What a year to not have a third rounder. It stings.

Posted by: JF | Apr 11, 2013 4:48:27 PM

@realist - Why would they be worse this year than the past 2 years? They have not lost any talent, they will add some talent in the draft which means they should improve. Adding a DT and a DB would help add talent to positions that are lacking in talent. If Cam is good enough he will drag this team to the playoffs with or without talent

Posted by: spaceman mike | Apr 11, 2013 4:49:12 PM

Eric Reid from LSU would be a better choice for safety in the second round than Swearinger. Look at his numbers from the NFL Combine!

Posted by: SB | Apr 11, 2013 5:12:45 PM

realist is not a Panther fan, he's a 'aints fan, you know, the cheaters team.

Posted by: Big Bad John | Apr 11, 2013 6:15:58 PM

Matching the best player available with the positions most in need is the best strategy for the Panrhers at this point with so few draft picks. They can't afford to have a bust in any of their five picks. They must hit a home run with every pick if they want to have any chance at making the playoffs in 2013. A second tight end and a reliable kicker are also needed but will not be addressed in the draft. The Panthers have a lot of holes and not a lot of depth at some critical positions. So few draft picks and little or no cap room have not left Mr. Gettleman with much to deal with. Good luck to the Panthers front office and scouting staff. They will need it.

Posted by: Whitecomet77 | Apr 11, 2013 6:53:27 PM

4-12 in the conference? You have got to be partially retarded....

Posted by: John | Apr 11, 2013 6:59:22 PM

Now, this is coming from someone who is NOT a UNC fan!!! No, I am NOT a Tar Heel Fan!!!

The Panthers ideal move would be to trade down in the First Round and draft DT Sylvester Williams, 6'3", 314 LBS. He is a value pick and would be available around 20-22. I don't see the value in Sheldon Richardson at 14, so trade down, and pick up a 3rd rounder.

Posted by: Buzz Kills | Apr 11, 2013 9:48:48 PM

The important thing here is not to be that wildebeast when things get tough next season.

Posted by: George Seifert | Apr 12, 2013 8:55:28 AM

#1 C. Patterson WR Ten.

If he gets passed NYJ he could be available. Patterson is the most explosive offensives threat in the draft. He played one year in SEC and set TEN. record for total yards.

He is the reason why Steve Smith is suggesting the need to take a DT in rd. 1.

Patterson: 6'2", 216 lbs, 4.3 (40). Big play all day (Kr, Pr, reverses, deep ball). Needs work on route running.

#2 John Jenkins DT Geo.

Biggun at 6'4", 346 lbs. Huge space eater with athleticism. Considered a 2nd - 3rd rounder.

Posted by: Tito | Apr 12, 2013 11:04:59 AM

Tito, Do you really think Steve is scared of Patterson? Ha. Steve SEARCHES for motivation to perform at the highest level. What he's saying is what MOST (so-called) experts are saying, that our biggest need is a DT, then CB/or safety.

Posted by: Otit | Apr 12, 2013 11:48:47 AM

@Realist-You probably are writing your statement from your parent's basement/garage. If you have some pertinent information/opinion about our beloved Panthers then feel free to comment on this thread. I personally think we should go with a 6'5-6'6 TE in the third and go defense with our 1st and 2nd.

Posted by: PantherForLife | Apr 12, 2013 12:42:36 PM

@pantherforlife....we don't have a 3rd this year...thanks again Marty! A number of DT's in the 1st round would provide good value...and hope Deandre Hopkins will be there in the 2nd.

Posted by: David Crabb | Apr 13, 2013 3:21:11 PM

pantherhead;how can you even call yourself that name? you say we will go 4-12 and not win a game in our conference!!! you must live in Colorado cause you been smoking too much pot!!!! if you're going to make comments like this change your name or engage your brain before opening your mouth,better yet stop smoking pot while you watch the panther's play,cause you aren't watching the same panther's I am. We will win a least 9 games!!!

Posted by: officer jim | Apr 13, 2013 3:49:39 PM

Pantherhead and Realist is a blog troll ignore the comment

Posted by: Panthersfan1 | Apr 13, 2013 6:00:46 PM

Richardson is not worth a #14 pick. He looks like 2nd round material. One of these guys may fall to us if you think Geno Smith will go to the Bills and there is usually 1 other surprise by pick 14.
#1 pick options: 1. Star Lotulei/Shariff Floyd
2. Tavon Austin 3. Warmack/Johnson/Cooper 4. Vaccaro

Cordarelle is too raw to go this high. He is lanky and unrefined. Watch his highlights then watch Austins. Feels like to much of a Bust risk in my opinion. I feel the same way about Sheldon Richardson.
We have gotten burned by too many projects.

Posted by: Tyler Kadison | Apr 13, 2013 10:54:30 PM

Project players and first round draft picks shouldn't be mentioned in the same sentence so for Cordarrelle Patterson that's a long shot....we need someone who's ready to start now we need someone that draws comparison to Vince Wilfork or Casey Hampton at DT and we'll be Gucci!!! A great front 4 can get us to the superbowl in a pass happy league!!!! Look at our front four 2004 that led us to the superbowl!!! Look at the Giants from 2008 and 2011 GREAT FRONT FOUR!!! Thanks to our very own Dave Gettleman!!! Throw Beason, Kuechly, and Davis in the mix and we got another superbowl run just cross your fingers for a better coached season panther fans!!!! Because the injuries are inevitable they're gonna happen but champions adjust!!! and our staff will be challenged when that time comes!!!!

Posted by: Traviell McNair | Apr 14, 2013 8:28:29 AM

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