The Carolina Panthers are going to have plenty of options available with the number 8 or 9 pick in the draft. Defensive line is definitely an issue that they want to resolve before next year, and unless there is a prodigious offensive talent left on the board, then look for the Panthers to strengthen defense with their first round pick.
The Panthers will likely get their pick of the litter, because there are two quarterbacks, one offensive lineman, and another wide receiver projected to go within the top seven picks.
More defensive linemen have been selected in the first round in the last three drafts than linebackers and defensive backs combined. Certain positions tend to gain value as offensive and defensive systems change, and defensive line’s value has never been higher than it is at the moment.
The Carolina Panthers coaching staff is not blind to the improvements that they need to make. “You have to have a pass rush,” Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said earlier in the week. “You’ve got to be able to put pressure on the quarterback.”
When and if the Panthers decide to draft a defensive lineman, their options will not be limited. There are a couple Carolina products in Melvin Ingram and Quinton Coples generally considered to be going in the first 10 picks, as well as LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers or Penn State defensive tackle Devon Still.
Still, in particular, is not lacking self-confidence: Still said. “I think hands down I’m the best defensive tackle in this draft just because I feel as though I want it more. I was able to take over a lot of games this season. I was able to disrupt things even on plays when I didn’t make tackles or sacks.”
This writer will not give up his surprise pick in the upcoming Rant Sports mock-draft, but here’s hoping the Panthers make an intelligent selection, and don’t draft purely on need. If there is a prodigious offensive talent left on the board, then the Panthers should not hesitate to pull the trigger. If not though, look for the Panthers to add a stud to their defensive line.