The Panthers like Hayden Hurst, whom they could pick here. However, their secondary absolutely must be addressed, and Jaire Alexander certainly has to be considered one of the top players available. Alexander could go in the teens, so this is a nice value selection.
Pick change; previously D.J. Moore, WR
Rd. 2, Pk. 23
Jessie Bates, S, Wake Forest
The Panthers continue to bolster their secondary, which has major holes at both cornerback and safety.
Pick change; previously Hayden Hurst, TE
Rd. 3, Pk. 21
Dante Pettis, WR, Washington
Carolina has no No. 1 receiver. The team could go with someone like D.J. Moore in Round 1. If not, this is an option.
Pick change; previously Carlton Davis, CB
Rd. 3, Pk. 24
Duke Ejiofor, DE/3-4DE, Wake Forest
The Panthers have a great linebacking corps and defensive interior, but their edge rush beyond Julius Peppers and Mario Addison is lacking. Peppers obviously won't be around for more than another year or two, so Carolina will have to obtain his successor.
Rd. 5, Pk. 24
Jamarco Jones, OT, Ohio State
The Panthers could stand to upgrade their blocking, or at least find some depth on the offensive line.
Rd. 6, Pk. 23
Deon Yelder, WR, Western Kentucky
There's been talk that Greg Olsen could retire soon, so the Panthers will need a tight end of the future.
It would make sense for the Panthers to give up one of their second-rounders to move up for Leonard Fournette. He could be phenomenal for Carolina and would match up well against some of the undersized defensive lines in the NFC South. If the Panthers don't move up for Fournette, I could see them taking McCaffrey given his running ability, great football character, and what he would bring to their passing attack.
In 2016, McCaffrey averaged 6.3 yards per carry for 1,603 yards and 13 touchdowns. He totaled 37 receptions for 310 yards and three touchdowns through the air, too. McCaffrey also was a dangerous punt returner.
In my opinion, McCaffrey should have won the 2015 Heisman Trophy because he carried Stanford all season. McCaffrey was a home-run hitter and a threat to rip off a huge gain every time he touched the ball. McCaffrey has a tremendous burst to break into the open field with vision, cutting ability and elusiveness. In 2015, he averaged six yards per carry for 2,019 yards with eight touchdowns. As a receiver, he had 45 catches for 645 yards and five scores.
McCaffrey (5-11, 202) looks undersized, but he still should be a first or second-rounder. Teams love his work ethic and pushing his teammates to be better.
Rd. 2, Pk. 2
Demarcus Walker, DE/3-4OLB, Florida State
The Panthers grab an edge rusher to groom behind Julius Peppers.
In 2016, Walker totaled 68 tackles with those 16 sacks, 21.5 tackles for a loss, three forced fumbles and two passes batted. He caught fire in the second half against Ole Miss to record 4.5 sacks and help lead Florida State to a huge comeback win over the Rebels.
The 6-foot-3, 280-pounder broke out in 2015 with 10.5 sacks, 15.5 tackles for a loss, five passes broken up and 58 tackles. He was a tough edge rusher for the Seminoles. Sources told me that they were projecting Walker to the second day of the 2016 NFL Draft prior to him announcing he would return for his senior year.
Rd. 2, Pk. 2
David Sharpe, OT, Florida
The Panthers could use a right tackle candidate considering the uncertain status for Michael Oher.
Sharpe was a solid left tackle for the Gators. He is a good run blocker and a better athlete with more quickness than one would think. Sharpe had a good first half against Tennessee's Derek Barnett before struggling in the second half.
For the NFL, Sharpe would probably be best as a guard or right tackle. As a sophomore in 2015, Sharpe saw action at both tackle positions. He was a good run blocker who flashed some pass-protection skills. Sharpe (6-6, 343) needs to improve his pass blocking for the NFL, but he has upside to develop. Sharpe needs to keep his weight in check and avoid lethargy.
Rd. 3, Pk. 3
Bucky Hodges, TE, Virginia Tech
The Panthers could use a tight end to pair with, and develop behind, Greg Olsen.
In 2016, Hodges totaled 48 catches for 691 yards with seven touchdowns. He improved as a junior and could be one of the real value picks in the deep 2017 tight end class. In 2015, Hodges recorded 40 receptions for 530 yards and six scores. He was a redshirt freshman sensation for the Hokies in 2014 and produced the best year ever in terms of receiving production by a freshman tight end at Virginia Tech. The 2014 season saw him haul in 45 catches for 526 yards and six touchdowns.
Hodges (6-6, 257) needs to improve his blocking for the NFL, but he could be a taller version of a Jordan Reed-type tight end, or and even a Mike Evans-type receiver on the outside.
Rd. 4, Pk. 4
Travin Dural, WR, LSU
The Panthers grab some wide receiver depth.
Sources say that Dural had early round potential before a torn hamstring injury. Perhaps he will recover his speed and suddenness after getting further from the injury. In 2016, Dural had 28 receptions for 280 yards with one touchdown. He totaled 28 receptions for 533 yards and three touchdowns in 2015, but also had two long touchdowns against Mississippi State called back on penalties. Even with inconsistent quarterback play in 2014, Dural was one of the SEC's breakout performers. He averaged 21 yards per catch with 37 receptions for 758 yards and seven touchdowns.
The 6-foot-1, 206-pounder plays larger than his size, yet has the quickness to make an impact downfield. Dural had the potential to produce more over his career, but LSU had awful quarterback play and kept the ball on the ground a lot.
Rd. 5, Pk. 5
Antony Auclair, TE, Laval
The Panthers grab some tight end depth to go behind Greg Olsen.
Rd. 6, Pk. 6
Kyle Kalis, G, Michigan
The Panthers could take some interior offensive line depth and have shown interest in Kalis.
Rd. 7, Pk. 7
Tanner Vallejo, ILB, Boise State
The Panthers hosted Vallejo and could use some linebacker depth.
Not going to lie it was hard to determine where the receivers would go since I was a little off on how high they went this past draft, but with better talent at key positions at the top I can see the sliding a bit this season. For the Panthers who continue to retool their offense around Cam Newton finding a true do it all receiver can be a nice pick up. Especially, with how Kelvin Benjamin has fallen out of favor with the coaching staff and Devin Funchess just being a down right disappointing pass catcher. I actually like the pick up of Curtis Samuel in the draft, but he figures to be a slot option. Kirk on the other hand can be an explosive play maker similar to OBJ up in New York. Combine that with Samuel and the threat of McCaffrey out of the backfield you actually have a modern day offense, instead of that ground and pound they had the past few seasons.
Last Weeks Selection: Mitch Hyatt OT Clemson
Carolina could use a No. 1 receiver. Here's a big mismatch weapon to go with the Panthers' speed problems of Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel. <br> <br>
In 2017, Sutton recorded 68 catches for 1,085 yards with 12 touchdowns. He totaled 76 receptions in 2016 for 1,246 yards - a 16.5-yard average - with 10 touchdowns. The 6-foot-4, 218-pounder has size to him, and in 2015, he showed big-play ability by averaging 17.6 yards per catch. For the year, the redshirt freshman totaled 862 yards and nine touchdowns on 49 receptions. If Sutton finds a little more "Dez Bryant to him," aka playing more physically and bullying defensive backs, he could be tremendous in the NFL. <br> <br>
Scouting sources really like Sutton and think he is a mismatch weapon. One playoff general manager said they loved Sutton and thought he could end up becoming the best receiver from his draft class. Another scouting director told WalterFootball.com that, in studying up on players before hitting the road for college training camps before the 2016 season, Sutton's tape really stood out, and he continued to impress them over the next two seasons. Sutton is a long-strider, and sources say his speed is comparable to TCU's Josh Doctson, who the Redskins took in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
Carolina could use some youth at defensive end to eventually replace the aging Julius Peppers. <br> <br>
Hubbard totaled 43 tackles, seven sacks, 13.5 tackles for a loss and two forced fumbles in 2017. In 2016, he collected 46 tackles with eight for a loss, 3.5 sacks and two passes batted. While rotating into the game as a sophomore, Hubbard showed his potential with 6.5 sacks. He also had 28 tackles with an interception that season. <br> <br>
The 6-foot-5, 270-pounder has a great skill set, but never produced up to it. Hubbard possesses a serious combination of size, speed, and athletic ability that should help him to rise during the pre-draft workouts, however. Some team sources feel that Hubbard was an underachiever and should have turned in a lot more production over his collegiate career.
I had Christian Kirk going here for the longest time. The panthers are lacking a true deep threat that helped lead them to a super bowl apperence in 2015. However after the extremely questionable trade for Torrey Smith, Carolina no longer needs that threat and lost a CB. Enter Jaire Alexander. Alexander was one of the best cornerback's at the combine, and it doesn't seem like teams are too concerned about his injury issues. Alexander also has the potential to be a true number 1 corner. Something the team has lacked since Josh Norman left.
**Previous Selection: No Change**
The Panthers could use more receivers after trading away Kelvin Benjamin.
The 6-foot-1, 205-pound Washington can stretch teams vertically with his speed. Some team sources told me they graded him as a mid-rounder. Washington has a running back-like build and is not really twitchy. He is still deceptively fast, but that is speed he builds up rather than quick explosiveness. They say that Washington has good hands, but doesn't really make players miss after the catch. One team source said they graded Washington as a late fourth-rounder for the 2018 NFL Draft. <br> <br>
In 2017, Washington has 53 receptions for 1,158 yards and nine touchdowns. He made 71 receptions for 1,380 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2016. As a sophomore, he snagged 53 passes for 1,087 yards with 10 scores.