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April 23, 2014

Mel Kiper: Wideout trumps tackle for Panthers in NFL draft

Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman's love of big guys has been well established.

The Panthers need a couple of big guys, specifically offensive tackles.

But they also need wide receivers, and that's the direction ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. expects the Panthers to go when they pick 28th overall in next month's draft.

Receiver and tackle are two of the deepest positions in the draft.

But the best tackles -- Greg Robinson, Jake Matthews, Taylor Lewan and Zack Martin -- likely will be gone when the Panthers pick in the first round. And Kiper isn't crazy about the second-tier selections, although he had the Panthers taking Virginia's Morgan Moses in his mock draft last week.

"I just don't see a tackle I'm excited about," Kiper said during a conference call with reporters Wednesday. "Morgan Moses from Virginia is a left tackle. I think he plays a little too high. He needs to bend better. He did get some improvement in that area late. I don't see anybody at 28 from an offensive tackle standpoint that would excite me over a wide receiver. And they desperately need that."

The Panthers saw longtime left tackle Jordan Gross retire during the offseason, and they lost their top four receivers. They cut franchise receiver leader Steve Smith and had three others wideouts leave in free agency -- Brandon LaFell, Ted Ginn Jr. and Domenik Hixon.

"They haven't had great wide receiver play, even with Steve Smith. Steve Smith was a heck of a player. Who was the other guy? Brandon LaFell dropped a lot of balls. They never had consistency opposite Smith," Kiper said.

"So it's not like this team had a great receiving corps, or a good receiving corps, anyway. Now they need multiple receivers. They've added some pieces in terms of (Jason) Avant and guys like that, and (Jerricho) Cotchery.

"But I think when you look at Carolina right now, the receiver's going to trump the offensive tackle, unless you're shocked and a Zack Martin (drops). But that's not going to happen. So I would say a wide receiver."

Kiper mentioned three wideouts he believes will be available when the Panthers are on the board -- Indiana's Cody Latimer, Vanderbilt's Jordan Matthews and Fresno State's Davante Adams, who led all major-college receivers with 131 catches last season.

The Panthers have met with Latimer and Matthews, the SEC's all-time receiving leader.

--Joseph Person

Posted by Observer Sports on April 23, 2014 at 02:27 PM | Permalink


If Kiper is saying WR, we better go OT. That guy is a train wreck.

Posted by: Pierre | Apr 23, 2014 2:48:15 PM

Who takes Mel Kiper seriously? This is the same idiot that said Clausen was an elite QB.

Posted by: CarolinaFan | Apr 23, 2014 2:52:21 PM

No way. Teams top priority is a tackle.

Posted by: par404 | Apr 23, 2014 3:21:04 PM

Mel Kiper ranks Jimmy Clausen as the fourth-best player in the 2010 draft

“I had him as the fourth-best player,” Kiper said in a post-draft conference call, after Clausen plummeted into Round 2. “That’s my rating. That’s my opinion, and I’ll stand by it. We’ll see what happens three years from now.”

Posted by: The Jimmy | Apr 23, 2014 3:27:18 PM

Mel Kiper ranks Jimmy Clausen as the fourth-best player in the 2010 draft

“I had him as the fourth-best player,” Kiper said in a post-draft conference call, after Clausen plummeted into Round 2. “That’s my rating. That’s my opinion, and I’ll stand by it. We’ll see what happens three years from now.”

Posted by: The Jimmy | Apr 23, 2014 3:27:22 PM

Mel Kiper says Wes Welker isn’t worth a second-round pick

“I don’t care how much you like his work ethic,” Kiper apparently added, “he has done nothing to show a value that high.”

Since 2007, Welker has caught more passes than anyone else in football… by a wide margin.

Posted by: The Jimmy v2 | Apr 23, 2014 3:28:17 PM

Mel Kiper rips the Colts for drafting Marshall Faulk, not drafting Heath Shuler or Trent Dilfer

Technically, he ripped Indy for trading for a second pick in the top five and still refusing to take a quarterback like Shuler or Dilfer. But you get the idea.

Posted by: The Jimmy v3 | Apr 23, 2014 3:28:41 PM

Mel Kiper compares JaMarcus Russell to John Elway

“JaMarcus Russell is going to immediately energize that Raider nation,” said Kiper after Russell was taken first overall in 2007. “That fanbase, that football team, on the practice field, in that locker room.”

Posted by: The Jimmy v4 | Apr 23, 2014 3:29:32 PM

Someone explain (to Mel) that ya gotta eat your veggies before you get dessert.
Wideouts are splashy toys. Tackles are gasoline in the tank. Splashy toys look pretty sitting in the driveway, but they aren't going very far without gas.
The splashy toy can run a 4.2 forty, but if the QB is on his back in TWO seconds he won't catch many passes.
Buy a toy next season.

Posted by: criolle | Apr 23, 2014 3:32:50 PM

I think this guy is brilliant said no one ever!

Posted by: Jimmy Clauson | Apr 23, 2014 3:36:35 PM

I think tackles are the ENGINE! A big, nasty 10-cylinder beast of a engine that leads a team into the playoffs year after year.

Posted by: Munson15 | Apr 23, 2014 3:50:39 PM

Mel's an idiot

Posted by: Heywood Jablowme | Apr 23, 2014 4:01:55 PM

Agree a Tackle or two is what we need, then a WR or two later.

Posted by: Rick | Apr 23, 2014 4:03:53 PM

Mel Kiper gets paid under the table by players agents to say good things about them.

Posted by: tre'4boi | Apr 23, 2014 4:08:40 PM

I don't care which we take as long as we hit a HR with the pick like we have with our 1st the last few years. If we go WR get a Smitty(3rd round btw) and not a D. Jarret. If we go OL get a Gross and not Otah.

Posted by: jason | Apr 23, 2014 4:12:06 PM

If you have a stout O-line and a decent QB you can make just about ANY receiver look good

Posted by: Dave Gettleman | Apr 23, 2014 4:13:26 PM

I wouldn't mind the RB out of Auburn in the first to be perfectly honest. Zip Zing Zap! TD!!!

Posted by: ItCouldHappen | Apr 23, 2014 4:22:18 PM

Right on! Kiper is da man!!! Idjit.....

Posted by: Panther's fan | Apr 23, 2014 4:32:35 PM

JaMarcus Russell thinks Mel is the brightest NFL expert in the biz.

Posted by: jason | Apr 23, 2014 4:42:59 PM

Release the Kraken!!!

Posted by: The Kraken | Apr 23, 2014 4:46:30 PM

The panthers will draft the best available player. This might even be a CB or even a guard, who knows what will be available. They will draft a WR and tackle somehwere in the draft but they will make sure they get a bargan. The only people who listen to these mock drafts are the fans and sports networks. Most teams have their own valuation process / ranking board. They tune out the rest of the chatter

Posted by: Kelly Tripuka | Apr 23, 2014 5:19:57 PM

Like others have mentioned: Clausen.

This seals it. I was on the fence, but now I'm convinced we should pick up an OT.

Posted by: emlit | Apr 23, 2014 5:39:13 PM

I agree with Mel, Morgan Moses and Cyrus Kouandijo are guaranteed busts. They'd be foolish to pass on Lee, Beckham or Cooks for those guys.

Posted by: Tony Ciora | Apr 23, 2014 5:43:40 PM


Make your own conclusions about how unbiased Kiper may be.

Posted by: emlit | Apr 23, 2014 5:54:49 PM

We need a real #1 receiver we have a lot of good offensive linemen that are young but we haven't seen them play because they played behind a pro bowler. Byron Bell prove he can fill I that tackle position fine when Gross was injured in past.

Posted by: Logan k. | Apr 23, 2014 6:04:18 PM

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