To hear Mike Mayock describe it, the Panthers’ coin flip with Miami at the combine could be as important as any evaluations the Panthers do next week in Indianapolis.
A coin flip on Feb. 24 will determine the 8th and 9th picks between Carolina and Miami, which finished with 6-10 records and an identical .504 strength-of-schedule percentage.
“I think the first seven or eight picks are pretty solid, then after that there’s questions,” Mayock said today during a teleconference with the NFL Network analyst. “So they’re right on the cusp of that with that coin flip.”
Mayock – like ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper – thinks the Panthers could take LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers in the first round. The Panthers took a pair of DTs in the third round last year – Sione Fua and Terrell McClain – but had trouble getting penetration and a pass rush from the interior in 2011.
“I think he’s a potential top-10 pick, and I think he’s a logical guy who could play even outside if you needed him to,” Mayock said of Brockers. “He’s a really explosive, 6-foot-5, 300-pound defensive tackle. So I think Brockers is real logical for them right there.”
With LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne likely off the board when the Panthers pick, he said Carolina would be taking the second- or third-best corner if it goes that route.
“And that’s probably (Alabama’s) Dre’ Kirkpatrick,” Mayock said. “He’s big and he’s long. I’m not sure what he’s going to run (in the 40). Some people might even think he could convert to safety down the road.
“He’s a kid I really like a lot, but is that too high for him? Because sitting there at 8 or 9, you’ve got to get the best football player on the board.”