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April 02, 2013

NFL draft analysts predict who the Panthers will take at No. 14

It’s tough to find another team in the NFL that’s had as much success as the Carolina Panthers with their first-round pick the past two years.

With 2011 Offensive Rookie of the Year Cam Newton taken at No. 1 and reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year Luke Kuechly at No. 9 last April, the Panthers have struck gold on the first day of the draft (while doing less of that in later rounds).

The 2013 NFL draft is just 23 days away, and it’s still unclear whom the Panthers and new general manager Dave Gettleman will take with their 14th pick.

Most reputable mock drafts have the Panthers taking a defensive tackle to partner beside veteran Dwan Edwards. Carolina is set on the end with Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy, and the addition of a highly valued tackle would help Kuechly roam more freely in the middle of the field.

Below is a look at who five experts believe the Panthers will take with the No. 14 pick and what they have to say about each prospect. A high majority of mock drafts have the Panthers taking either Missouri DT Sheldon Richardson or Utah DT Star Lotulelei, but for the sake of variety, I've offered a handful that mock someone else to Carolina.


Analyst: Dane Brugler, NFLDraftScout.com

Pick: Utah DT Star Lotulelei

What he says: “The interior of the Panthers' defensive line has been a question mark since Kris Jenkins left in 2007 and, ironically, Carolina hasn't invested a top-50 draft pick on a defensive tackle since Jenkins over a decade ago. Lotulelei has enough talent to be a top-five pick, but his heart issue could cause him to slip a bit."


Josh Norris, Rotoworld.com

Florida State CB Xavier Rhodes

“The Panthers asked their corners to play a lot of off man and zone coverage last year, giving up a large amount of cushion. That is not Rhodes’ game, but I will chalk up last year’s scheme to poor talent at the position.”


Nate Davis, USATODAY Sports

Tennessee WR Cordarrelle Patterson

“Ron Rivera has acknowledged the need to find a successor for WR Steve Smith, who will be 34 this season. Patterson is a bit of a project but offers superior size (6-2, 216 pounds) and explosion. And he can apprentice behind Brandon LaFell and Smith, provided he earns No. 89’s respect.”


Dom Banks, SportsIllustrated.com

Missouri DT Sheldon Richardson

“Richardson has looked pegged for the Panthers for a while now, because the interior of their defensive line needs an upgrade and his disruptive style of play would address that issue nicely. Receiver is the other potential need to be mindful of, and with West Virginia's Tavon Austin and Tennessee's Cordarelle Patterson still on the board, it may at least give Carolina something to think about.”

Russ Lande, National Football Post

North Carolina DT Sylvester Williams

“Despite not receiving much national attention, Williams is very high on many draft boards and would be a great choice by the Panthers. With his initial quickness, strength and excellent competitiveness, Williams would provide an immediate upgrade on the interior of the Panthers defensive line.”

--Jonathan Jones

Posted by Observer Sports on April 2, 2013 at 11:56 AM | Permalink


Wow. If panthers got Lotulelei that would be a shocker.

Posted by: Mike | Apr 2, 2013 1:01:20 PM

Lotulelei isn't falling to #14.

Since the Panthers need a run-stopper and Sheldon Richardson isn't even a 300 pounder, I'd say they should trade with Chicago back to #20, take Sylvester Williams and get a 2nd or 3rd round pick for their trouble.

Posted by: Authority | Apr 2, 2013 1:36:30 PM

Several points of discussion.
1. Star Lotulei is likely undraftable. His heart issue is distinctly different than Frank Alexanders. Star's echo is indicating early heart failure. It is pumping approximately 40% less efficiently than it should. It hasn't mentioned anything about heart size or contractility. Those would give further indication about the seriousness of the echo report.

If it was an incorrect echo, then it would have been stated by now. Since we haven't heard anything, there is something much more serious.
I would stay away from him due to the medical standpoint unless a cardiologist has said it is pf no concern.
If no concern, then he would be a great get.
2. As for the picks, Tavon Austin would be one of the best picks here. This would juice our offense and bring in a Steve Smith caliber player. Same scrappiness, speed and hands.

A DT can be picked up in the 2nd round.
If one of the 3 stud tackles drops or Warmack is around, then those would be interesting pickups as well.
DT is a huge need but I think the OL and Austin are more attractive especially given the depth of DTs.

Posted by: Tyler Kadison | Apr 2, 2013 1:58:58 PM

Gettleman just called me to ask who I'd pick in the first round. I told him Patterson. That'll be my third ROY in a row. Boom.

Posted by: Marty Hurney | Apr 2, 2013 2:18:56 PM

Lotulelei is fine. My cousin is his cardiologist. They were together last night eating fried chicken. His heart pounds like Ric Fleihron a flight attendant.

Posted by: Hayseed | Apr 2, 2013 2:44:32 PM

Star and Jarvis Jones were awesome on the field but I'd stay away due to medical. Still think OL or DT will be involved in first 2 picks. Austin and Patterson are tantlizing but just not seeing it. I haven't noticed a DT or OL being brought in via FA so thats telling.

Posted by: Brian | Apr 2, 2013 2:46:18 PM

1. Trade picks in round 3, 5, & 7 to move up in round 1. Select a shutdown CB.

2. Trade picks in round 4 & 6 plus Clausen to move up in round 2. Select a DL from UGA..preferrably Jenkins.

3. Proceed to playoffs.

Posted by: ThisIsHowYouDoIt | Apr 2, 2013 3:16:10 PM

I suspect we'll move up in the draft and take an APP State player that no else wants anyways. It makes good sense.

Posted by: big gulps | Apr 2, 2013 3:23:42 PM

Pick the best available player at a position of need in the first round and trade Jimmy Clausen for Tim Tebow...straight up. No ups and no extras...ala Earl Scheib.

Posted by: Whitecomet77 | Apr 2, 2013 3:29:52 PM

Take T. Austin from WVU he will be another D. Jackson from the Eagles try and trade up and get X. Rhodes from FSU we have DTs on the roster we need a successor for Smith and since Gamble is gone Rhodes will come and be our #1 corner from day 1

Posted by: Antwan | Apr 2, 2013 3:43:47 PM



If we could get Star, that would be massive, but he will not be around at 14. He may even go #1.

Posted by: GDown | Apr 2, 2013 3:51:22 PM

Jeez, this Tyler guy is brutal.

Posted by: Likwit | Apr 2, 2013 4:06:21 PM

Jeez, this Tyler guy is brutal.

Posted by: Likwit | Apr 2, 2013 4:06:36 PM

Jeez, this Tyler guy is brutal.

Posted by: Likwit | Apr 2, 2013 4:06:39 PM

I think the panthers should take austin if he is available @ 14. They do need a successor to steve now if they do not sign a quality third reciver. If austin is gone a DT stud would be more likely with trying to keep the lb's free. If so happends they do get Star Lotulelei or Sheldon Richardson. I would say keep fingers crossed for a decent wideout to be drafted even as Stedman bailey enters early as a sleeper

Posted by: Kris | Apr 2, 2013 4:21:32 PM

and yes, that deserved to be said three times

Posted by: Likwit | Apr 2, 2013 4:23:05 PM

Likwit pulled a M J Fox and triple posted!!!

Posted by: big gulps | Apr 2, 2013 4:28:18 PM

Since we now have the absolute worst NFL secondary, we won't need to worry about DT run stoppers until we get guys that can defend the pass. Teams won't bother to run when they can pick up 15 yards to wide open receivers. The defensive backfield needs major help.

Posted by: David | Apr 2, 2013 5:21:13 PM

I like when someone who is listed as THISISHOWYOUDOIT starts with a trade that can never happen because the Panthers don't have a 3rd round pick! Than lists two trades that no one ahead of the panthers would want, if you trade for a number one pick in an age when the rookie pay scale is so small, than you have to give more than a 3,5, and 7, which first the panthers don't have a 3rd and second, it wouldn't make sense for any team to drop from the first pick to the third round, fifth round and seventh round without getting more in return! Nice Dream Though!

Posted by: Mike | Apr 2, 2013 5:41:42 PM

@ThisIsHowYouDoIt -- I see you are a 'Big' Panthers fan.. You do realize they don't have a 3rd round draft pick this year...LOL..

Posted by: catsnmbr1fan | Apr 2, 2013 5:48:22 PM

DT ,Simple as that with Gettleman the NYG were a defensive team starting with the DT's

Posted by: TWIGGY | Apr 2, 2013 6:44:56 PM

We can wait and get starting caliber DTs in the second rd, as we could with a S. WR and CB are thinner in this draft and it would make more sense to take one in the 1st if there is one of value on the Board when we pick. If not, I have to think we are going DT just because this position is so thin, but, with our division being so heavy on the pass, CB could leapfrog up as a need.

Posted by: manu4t | Apr 2, 2013 6:45:02 PM

manu4t ,we have tried that "later rnd DT" since Kris Jenkins and its NEVER worked...Get ready for a DT ,and dram of a WR = Ain't gonna happen

Posted by: TWIGGY | Apr 2, 2013 6:47:36 PM

Trade down and draft Keenan Allen

Posted by: Billy | Apr 2, 2013 7:01:10 PM

we don't NEED a WR right now. we want one to eventually take smith's spot. but we NEED a DT and we NEED a safety to pair with godfrey.

Our offensive is already stacked with playmakers with smith, olsen, lafell, williams, stewart, tolbert, newton himself etc. etc. there's only 1 ball. Smith easily has 3-4 more years in him. we need to replace him eventually but right now? bigger fish to fry.

we aren't in rebuild mode anymore, we're in win NOW mode. if you're building you go best talent, if you're going for it, you go by biggest need. A stud DT and a respectable safety in this draft make us contenders.

gettleman has huge shoes to fill with this draft. grass isn't always greener.

Posted by: charlottean | Apr 2, 2013 8:07:13 PM

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