Tuesday, May 7, 2013

2013 NFL Draft Team Grades: Carolina Panthers

First RoundStar Lotulelei, DT, Utah

ANALYSIS: I still don't get why the Jets passed on him, but Carolina must be thrilled. I knew it had to be Star when the pick was in within a few minutes. He's the best DT in the draft, yet he somehow fell all the way to Carolina at 14. The defensive tackle position has been a huge need in Carolina for years, and they've finally gotten a potentially elite DT. I really love this pick for Carolina.


Second Round: Kwann Short, DT, Purdue

Going defensive tackle back to back may surprise some people, but you really can't fault the Panthers for it. The need was that dire at the DT position. Short is a great compliment to Lotulelei because Lotulelei is more of a run stuffer while Short offers much more of a pass rush. These first two picks have completely remade the interior of Carolina's defensive line. If these two picks pan out as expected, this weakness has just become a big strength for them.


Fourth Round: Edmund Kugbila, G, Valdosta State

This was a bad selection by Carolina. With no third round pick this year, the Panthers needed to find good value in round four, and they didn't at all. Kugbila could have easily been around in the sixth and maybe even the seventh round. Taking him in round four is a major reach. Guard was about fourth or fifth on Carolina's need list at this point, so it didn't make sense to reach for any guard. The secondary or right tackle position had to be addressed here.


Fifth Round: A.J. Klein, ILB, Iowa State

Despite Carolina continuing to neglect major needs, I really can't argue with this pick too much. Klein could have gone at the end of day two, so picking him up in round five is solid value. They should really have addressed the secondary here, but at least they didn't reach.


Sixth Round: Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon

Again, Carolina not filling a need but finding average value. Barner projects to be a nice change of pace back in the NFL, and could have gone a little earlier than this. I'm still shocked that Carolina ignored the secondary throughout the entire draft.



Carolina made two great picks in round one and two, but I don't really know what they were doing after that. The fourth round selection was awful, and the other picks simply didn't fill a need. In addition to the DT help they found in the first two rounds, Carolina needed another weapon for Newton, a right tackle to protect him, and multiple pieces for their secondary. They didn't address any of those needs. The secondary especially is going to be a major problem next season.


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