Analyzing the Carolina Panthers draft picks

The Carolina Panthers entered the 2014 draft with a lot of needs and questions. Let’s take a look at their draft picks.

1st round (28th overall)

Selection: WR Kelvin Benjamin, Florida State

Comment: Coming into the draft, wide receiver was a huge question mark for Carolina. Many experts and pundits alike thought the Panthers were going offensive tackle here given the retirement of longtime left tackle Jordan Gross. But by the time the team was on the clock, they had two great options at the wide receiver position in Marqise Lee and Kelvin Benjamin.

You can make a great argument for Carolina taking either of those guys, but given Benjamin’s size at 6-5 and his raw athleticism, the Panthers took him over the more polished Lee. Historically receivers from USC haven’t exactly worked out for the Panthers (see Dwyane Jarrett and Keary Colbert), which may have been in the minds of Carolina’s brass.

I like the pick. Benjamin hasn’t even began to reach his potential and can become a dominant receiver in the league once he has time to get acclimated. When I watch him on film he can at times remind me of a Calvin Johnson or Anquan Boldin. He does struggle with route running and occasionally has the case of the drops but he’ll have some great mentors in Jason Avant and Jerricho Cotchery who can help him with that. Expect to see him compete for reps right away.

Side note: Benjamin caught the game-winning touchdown pass in the National Championship game to defeat the Auburn Tigers, Cam Newton’s alma mater. That’ll make for a good conversation starter when Benjamin and Newton meet for the first time.

Kelvin Benjamin could see the field right away for Carolina.

Kelvin Benjamin could see the field right away for Carolina.

2nd round (60th overall)

Selection: DE Kony Ealy, Missouri

Comment: Even though the Panthers have one of the best defensive lines in the NFL and didn’t have a need here, I love this pick. Ealy was a projected first rounder on many draft boards and fell into Carolina’s lap towards the end of the 2nd round. Panthers GM Dave Gettleman is all about drafting the best player available and he followed through on his strategy with this pick.

Ealy will have a chance to learn from one of the best pass rushers in the game, Greg Hardy. Ealy can be insurance if the Panthers aren’t able to reach a long with Hardy, who received the team’s franchise tag this offseason. As Gettleman said, “You can never have enough pass rushers. It’s impossible.” This pick proves that line of logic.

3rd round (92nd overall)

Selection: Trai Turner, OG LSU

Comment: In the 3rd round Carolina finally addressed it’s offensive line problems with snagging Trai Turner. A lot of people had the Panthers taking Morgan Moses a tackle from Virginia in the first or second round but the team never seemed interested in Moses.

Turner brings a nastiness the team lacks on the offensive side of the ball. Not only does Turner give Carolina another “hog molly” as Gettleman likes to call them, he gives them an athletic and quick guard. Turner ran one of the fastest times at the combine among offensive linemen. I can easily see Turner getting some starts this upcoming season.

4th round (128th overall)

Selection: Tre Boston SS UNC

Comment: Call me skeptical on this pick. I understand the Panthers need depth in the secondary, one of their weak spots from last year. I’ve followed ACC football for years and have seen Boston play over the years. The former Tar Heel is very physical and a competitor no doubt but when I watched some of his game film, I saw him get beat a good bit in coverage and sometimes get lost in coverage. A lot of that can be contributed to the North Carolina coaching staff moving him around different positions. The learning curve for Boston will be steep but he’ll get to learn from some of the game’s best in Roman Harper and Thomas DeCoud.

5th round (148th overall)

Selection: Bene Benwikere CB San Jose State

Comment: This is the sleeper in the Panthers’ draft class in my opinion. Benwikere is a great ballhawk who had 12 interceptions his last two seasons for the Spartans. To go along with that, he also had the best vertical jump among defensive backs at the combine at 40 inches. Given his 5-11 height, that vertical jump will be key when going up against the big physical receivers of the NFC South like Vincent Jackson, Julio Jones, and Jimmy Graham.

Scouts loved his instincts and athletic ability but had some concerns about his tackling ability. If Benwikere can improve his tackling and physicality he could step in and contribute right away. With the loss of Captain Munnerlyn, he may have to learn fast.

6th round (204th overall)

Selection: Tyler Gaffney, RB Stanford

Comment: This is a head scratcher. Carolina already has a deep backfield that includes DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, Mike Tolbert, and even little-used Kenjon Barner. There were still some decent offensive tackles on the board at the time of the pick. This isn’t to say that Gaffney isn’t a great running back. He’s a great physical back that reminds you of another former Stanford running back, Toby Gerhart. He’ll be a great backup who can spell Williams or even fill in if Stewart has more injury issues. His biggest asset according to scouts is his pass blocking ability.

 

Final Thoughts: Overall, the Carolina Panthers were able to address some key areas in this draft and get some steals in the process. These draft picks will have to grow up fast as there is a good chance most of them will be asked to contribute right away.

Notes:

- Dave Gettleman said during his post draft press conference that Byron Bell and Nate Chandler will both compete for Jordan Gross’ old spot at left tackle. Gettleman also reiterated that he felt the offensive line was in good hands. For his sake let’s hope so.

- The Panthers also announced that Charles Godfrey will move to cornerback from his old safety position. This move makes the Tre Boston selection make a lot more sense.

- Carolina wasted no time in plucking a few free agents shortly after the conclusion of the draft. The names are below.

Texas CB Carrington Byndom

Ohio State WR Corey Brown

Montreal Carabins OL David Foucault

Miami OL Jared Wheeler

Missouri WR Marcus Lucas

Michigan State LB/S Denicos Allen

West Virginia DL Shaq Rowell

Ohio State OL Andrew Norwell

UAB RB Darrin Reaves

 

Comments

  1. PantherG says

    About Boston–3 head coaches, 3 positions, 4 years. Confusion should have been his worst enemy and i am sure it impacted his evaluations. With some continuity, he will play faster and smarter…At first, the Gaffney pick was a head scratcher. However, if you think about the fact that they did not find that LT, the Panthers need RBs who can pass block. Williams is 32 years old and recently took it upon himself to criticize the front office for their handling of the WR corps, a motley crew of sub-mediocre misfits that Williams felt deserved more respect. Stewart recently signed an endorsement deal for the Powerglide exercise bike and a local radio personality in Charlotte recently stated that the lockerroom considers him to be soft. Ealy will turn out to be a great pick–possibly the steal of the draft–not a need? I am not sure. With Johnson’s salary and Hardy’s status, Ealy will be a key part of the rotation and he will start in 2015. Benjamin, Cotchery, Avant, Underwood, King, and McNutt are better than what the Panthers had in 2013.

  2. Panthers/Truth says

    Pick #204, RB Tyler Gaffney is a great pick for 2015 (when I expect D-Will and J-Stew to be cut lose), but for now the pick creates a logjam at RB. The Panthers may need to slip one RB onto IR this season, or risk losing either Gaffney or Barner to a waiver claim while trying to sneak them onto the Practice Squad, where they would still risk another team signing off their Practice Squad. Even with Gaffeny, Barner, and Tolbert in 2015, the Panthers will still need to draft another RB early in next years draft (by the 3rd round, if not the 1st or 2nd), but next years draft seems to be loaded with good RB’s.

  3. Panthers/Truth says

    Pick #148, and the trade of picks #168 and #225 to the Vikings, to move up 20 spots, was a panic move by GM Gettlemen, because he thought a run on CB’s had started, and he was right, but he realized it too late. Only a few good CB’s were left Shaquille Richardson (#157), Kendall James (#184, but he’s short), and Travis Carrie (#219), with maybe OK CB’s Keith Reaser (#170), Bennett Jackson (#187), Andre Hal (#215), and Jabari Price (#225).

    With these 3 good CB talents left on the board, what did Gettlemen do? He traded up 20 spots, to #148, and drafted CB Bene Benwikere, the #359 (211 spots lower than the Panthers picked him) ranked player by nfldraftscout.com. Benwikere is on the short side at 5’10 3/4″, with short 30″ arms, but that’s not his big problem, that is his almost total lack of NFL level speed. The “National Football Post did a study of Combine workout numbers and their relation to NFL success, covering 14 years (from 1999-2012), and here are Benwikere’s numbers followed by the Combine averages. Benwikere ran an “official” Combine 4.63-40 (4.49-40), 1.64-10 yard split (1.56-10), 2.62-20 yard split (2.60). 2.01 flying 20 (from the 20 to the 40 yard line) (1.89), 4.38-20 yard shuttle (4.15), and 6.94-3 cone drill (6.97). All of Benwikere’s speed numbers were all below average (often far below average) for all CB’s tested at the Combine during that 14 year period, except for his Benwikere’s 6.94-3 cone drill time, which tied for the average time of all CB’s who were drafted. Benewikere’s 2.01 flying 20 time set a new record for the slowest time recorded at the Combine during this period, while his Pro Day 4.70-40 (4.67-40) and 1.70-10 (1.67-10) would have also set new records, and his Pro Day 2.71-20 yard split time would have tied the record for the worst time. The 14 year study shows that CB’s 40, 10 yard split, and flying 20 times, are the most predictive of future NFL success. It goes without saying, that those speed numbers are a huge Red Flag for Benwikere’s NFL chances.

    http://www.nationalfootballpost.com/the-combine-chronicals-cornerbacks.html

    Benwikere’s 40 1/2″ vertical is above average for CB’s who started for 3 years in the NFL, and was 2nd among the CB’s tested at this years Combine, behind CB Stanley Jean-Baptiste’s 41 1/2″ vertical jump. His 10’2″ broad jump is 1″ above the average of 10’1″, but his 10 bench reps are 4.6 below average.

    If the Panthers had to make the trade up, then they should have drafted CB Shaquille Richardson. Here are Richardson’s Pro Day workout numbers (he wasn’t invited to the Combine), followed by Benwikere’s numbers, a 4.43-40 on a very soggy and slow surface (4.63-40), a 1.56-10 yard split (1.64-10), 2.60-20 yard split (2.62), 1.83 flying 20 (2.01), 4.17-20 yard shuttle (4.38), 6.85-3 cone drill (6.94), 14 bench reps (10), 10’7″ broad jump (10’2″), and 38 1/2″ vertical (40 1/2″) the only number of Richardson’s that was worst than Benwikere. In addition to being faster, stronger, and more explosive than Benwikere, Johnson is also taller 6’0 1/4 to 5’10 3/4″, has 2″ longer arms (32″ to 30″), and has much bigger hands (10 1/8″ to 9 1/8″).

    I believe Gettlemen made his first CB mistake by passing over NC St. CB/FS Dontae Johnson at #128 (Johnson went at #129), and taking S Tre Boston. Johnson (6’2 1/8″, 200, 31 1/2″ arms, and 8 5/8″ hands) is much bigger than either Benwikere (5’10 3/4″, 195, 30″ arms, and 9 1/8″ hands) or Boston (5’11 5/8″, 204, 31 3/8″ arms, and 9 3/4″ hands). Johnson’s extra 2′ or 3+” in height makes him a much better match up for the NFC South’s big WR’s (Falcons – Julio Jones at 6’3″, 220, Saints – Marques Colston 6’4″, 225 and Brandon Coleman 6’6″, 225, and Bucs – Vincent Jackson 6’4 3/4″, 230 and Mike Evans 6’4 3/4″, 231). Here are Johnson’s Combine workout numbers (followed by Benwikere and Boston’s numbers), an “official” Combine 4.45-40 (4.63 and 4.59), 1.53-10 yard split (1.64 and 1.60), 2.53-20 yard split (2.62 and 2.56), 1.92 flying 20 (2.01 and 2.03), 4.24-20 yard shuttle (4.38 and 4.31), 6.82-3 cone drill (6.94 and 7.04), 12 bench reps (10 and 18), 10’4″ broad jump (10’2″ and 9’8″), and a 8 1/2″ vertical (40 1/2″ and 35″). As you can see, Johnson’s numbers were better in every event but Benwikere’s vertical (by 2″), and Boston’s 6 more bench reps.

  4. Panthers/Truth says

    Pick #128, S Tre Boston was a big reach for the Panthers, which I will discuss in more detail in the next post, along with why I feel that NC St, CB/FS Dontae Johnson should have been the pick (he was the next pick, at #129).

    By this point the S talent was very thin, with some thinking that S Brock Vereen would have been a better pick at #128 (his Combine numbers are much better), but I’ll stick with Johnson, and look to draft S Lonnie Ballentine with their #225 pick in the 7th round (if they didn’t trade it). Ballentine played FS, but he’s bigger than most SS’s, at 6’3″, 219, with 33″ arms, and 9 1/2″ hands, much bigger than Boston (5’11 5/8″, 204, 31 3/8″ arms, and 9 3/4″ hands). Here are Ballentine’s Combine workout numbers, followed by Boston’s numbers, a 4.38-40 (4.59-40), 1.56-10 yard split (1.60-10), 2.63-20 yard split (2.58), 1.75 flying 20 (2.03), 4.47-20 yard shuttle (4.31), 7.18-3 cone drill (7.04), 18 bench reps (18), 10’6″ broad jump (9’8″), and a 33 1/2″ vertical (35″). The 40 and flying 20 times are the best indicators of future NFL success (which Ballentine lead by a wide margin over Boston), followed by the 3 cone drill, where Boston was best.

  5. Panthers/Truth says

    Pick #92, OG Trai Turner is an OK pick, but not great. He posted great straight-line speed numbers, followed by the average number for 3 year starters at OG, a 4.93-40 (5.21-40), 1.72-10 yard split (1.80), and 2.81-20 yard split (3.01), but his lateral movement, a 4.77-20 yard shuttle (4.77) only ties for the average of all OG’s tested at the Combine, and his change of direction speed, an 8.10-3 cone drill is far below average (7.94). I personally believe that a G’s change of direction and lateral movement skills are more important than his straight-line speed. Turner’s 102″ broad jump (102.1″) is just very slightly below the average for 3 year stating G’s, but both his 25 bench reps (25.7) and 27 1/2″ vertical (27.7″) are a little below the average for all G’s tested at the Combine. Turner’s size, 6’2 5/8″ height (6’3 7/5″), and weight 310 pounds (312.9) are slightly below average, but he’s only 20 years old, so he likely still has a little time to grow.

    I personally favored drafting LT/G Joel Bitonio in the 1st round, and signing G Ryan Groy as an UDFA. Here are how Groy’s workout numbers stack up against Turner’s, a 5.16-40 (4.93-40), 1.74-10 yard split (1.72), and 2.95-20 yard split, but while these straight-line numbers of Turner’s are better in each measure, Groy’s numbers are still above the average for 3 year starting G’s. However, Groy’s change of direction numbers, a 4.47-20 yard shuttle (4.77-Turner and 4.68-average) and 7.49-3 cone drill (8.10-Turner and 7.80-average) are not only much better than Turner’s, they’re much better than the average for 3 year G’s as well. Groy’s 108″ broad jump (102″) is both better than Turner’s, and the average for 3 year starting G’s (102.1″). Groy’s 26 bench reps (25) were better than Turner’s, but below average for the G’s who were drafted.Turner did have 1 other workout numbers that were better than Groy;s 26 1/2″ vertical (27 1/5″), but both were below the average for all G’s tested. Groy is also bigger than Turner, 6’4 5/8″ (6’2 5/8″) 2″ taller, 316 pounds (310), and 10 3/8″ hands (9 1/2″), but Turner does have slightly longer arms (33 1/4″ to 34″. So the Panthers could have saved their 3rd round pick for a greater need, and still have gotten a G of roughly equal value.

  6. Panthers/Truth says

    Pick #60, DE Kony Ealy was a good value pick, but a 2015 need pick. I never expected Ealy to fall as far as #60. DE Greg Hardy may leave as an URFA next year, but if he re-signs with the Panthers, they can save around $8.5 million by cutting DE Charles Johnson. Ealy is sort of a tweener at 6’4″, 273 (265 at his Pro Day), when “small” DE’s run 6’3 1/2″, 270 or less, and “big DE’s who run 6’4″, and over 270 pounds.

    Ealy (as you pointed out) had both good and bad straight-line speed numbers, poor Combine numbers (followed by the average times for small and big DE’s), a 4.92-40 (4.74-4.80 and 4.87-4.91), 1.66-10 yard split (1.64-1.66 and 1.68-1.69), 2.78-20 yard split (2.75-2.77 and 2.81-2.83), and 2.19 flying 20 (1.99-2.03 and 2.06-2.08). As you can see most of his straight-line speed numbers are below average, except for his 1.66-10 yard split, which is average for all “small” DE’s tested at the Combine, but all these averages are very narrow. However, Ealy’s Pro Day straight-line speed numbers are generally very good, a 4.56-40, 1.69-10, 2.75-20, and a 1.81 flying 20. Ealy’s 6.83-3 cone drill is much better than the average time for all “small” and “big” DE’s, but his 4.45-20 yard shuttle is only better than those “big” DE’s who were drafted. Ealy’s 114″ broad jump is below average for all “small” DE’s (114.9″), but above average (112.4″) for all “big” DE’s. Both of Ealy’s 22 bench reps (23.5) and 31″ vertical (31.9″) are below average for all DE’s tested at the Combine during the 14 year study by the “National Football Post”.

    However, I believe I would have stuck with my pre-draft target CB Phillip Gaines, who I believe could become the shutdown CB the Panthers need, rather than drafting Ealy at #60. It’s a case of drafting for present rather than future need. The 2015 draft seems to be loaded with good DE’s.

    http://www.nationalfootballpost.com/the-combine-chronicles-defensive-end.html

  7. Panthers/Truth says

    Pick #28 WR Kelvin Benjamin is a very raw player, who I don’t believe should have been the pick at #28, because all he brings to the table is great size (6’5″, 240, 34 7/8″ arms, and 10 1/4″ hands). The Panthers had multiple needs at WR, size, speed, jumping ability, and good hands, and while all Benjamin adds is size, WR Cody Latimer (6’2 1/2″, 215, 32 5/8″ arms, 9 5/8″ hands, a 4.38-40, 1.55-10, 2.59-20, 1.85 flying 20, 23 bench reps, and a 39″ vertical) has better workout out numbers than all the WR’s who started for at least 3 years in the NFL, except for being 1/100th of a second slow in the 10 yard split, and he still hadn’t fully recovered from foot surgery. The greatest attribute of Latimer’s is that he only dropped 1 pass, out of 119 targets, in 2013, Benjamin had a drop ratio of 9.68% (average is considered to be 6-7%). Thus Latimer filled all the Panthers WR needs in 1 package. I would have favored Latimer over Benjamin, but would have still drafted LT/G Joel Bitonio at #28, and then tried to trade the 2015 1st round pick for a 2014 2nd round pick to draft Latimer.

    The “National Football Post” did a 14 year study, covering the years 1999-2012, to determine the average result in each Combine event, for each position during that period, and which if any were the most predictive of future NFL success. The results for Kelvin Benjamin were that he was below average by everyone of these measures, Here are Benjamin’s results, followed by the minimum averages for all WR’s tested at the Combine, a 4.61-40 (4.51-40), 1.62-10 yard split(1.57-10), 2.63-20 yard split (2.60-20), 1.98 flying 20 (1.90), 4.39-20 yard shuttle (4.20), 7.33-3 cone drill (7.00), 119″ broad jump (119.6″), and 32 1/2″ vertical (35 1/2″). Bench reps weren’t reported in the study, but Benjamin has 13 reps, tied with 4 others for 19th out of 37 WR’s tested at this years Combine. You can overlook 1 or 2 numbers being below average, if their other numbers are good, but how can you overlook a player’s being below average in every event? How can you justify drafting such a player in ant round, let alone the 1st round?

    http://www.nationalfootballpost.com/the-combine-chronicles-wide-receiver.html

  8. Panthers/Truth says

    The Would Have, Could Have, Should Have, 2014 Panthers Draft

    As you can guess from the title, this is the 2014 Carolina Panthers draft, that I would have, they could have, and they should have done. Here is how I thought the Panthers draft should have gone.

    The “National Football Post” has done a study covering 14 years (1999-2012), to determine the average Combine workout numbers for each event, for each position, and which if any are most predictive of future NFL success. These numbers will follow the individual workout numbers of each player in this post.

    http://www.nationalfootballpost.com/the-combine-chronicles-offensive-line.html

    1st Round (#28) – LT/G Joel Bitonio. I had thought of trading the #28 pick to a team drafting early in the 2nd round, for that and their 3rd round pick, so they could draft the QB they needed, but eventually decided that they couldn’t afford the risk of losing Bitonio. Except for Bitonio’s 22 bench reps, which were below average, all his other workout numbers were above average for all 3 year starters, at both OT and G. He ran an “official” Combine 4.97-40 (T-5.21 and G-5.21), 1.68-10 yard split (T-1.80 and G-1.80), 2.80-20 yard split (T-3.02 and G-3.01), 4.44-20 yard shuttle (T-4.71 and G-4.68), 7.37-3 cone drill (T-7.87 and G-7.80), 32″ vertical (T-29.3″ and G-29.5″), and 114″ broad jump (T-103.3″ and G-102.1″). Bitonio’s 6’4 1/4″ height is above average for a G, but a little below average for a T, his 302 pounds (T-316 and G-313.7) is below average, but he played at 315 last season, his 33 7/8″ arms are well above the 33″ minimum for OT’s, and his 9 5/8″ hands are OK as well. Bitonio was drafted by the Browns, at #35, and will play G.

    2nd Round (Trading 2015′s 1st Round Pick For it) – WR Cody Latimer. To get Latimer, the Panthers would have had to make this type trade, because he would never last until their pick at #60, being drafted at #56, by the Broncos. Latimer had surgery to repair his broken foot in the middle of January, and as a result was only able to do the bench reps at the Combine, posting 23, the most by any WR at the Combine. By his Pro Day, still wasn’t fully recovered enough to run the 3 cone and 20 yard shuttle, or perform the broad jump, but he was able to do all the rest, running a 4.38-40 (4.47-40), 1.55-10 yard split (1.54-10), 2.59-20 yard split (2.59-20), 1.79 flying 20 (1.88), and 39″ vertical (36 1/2″). All but for 1/100th of a second in the 10 yard split, and Latimer would have either tied or exceeded the average for all WR’s playing 3 years or more in the NFL during the period covered by the 14 year study. Most importantly, Latimer has fantastic hands, with only 1 drop in 119 targets last season. Latimer is also a big WR, Standing 6’2 1/2″, weighing 215 pounds, with 32 5/8″ long arms, and 9 5/8″ hands.

    2nd Round (#60) – CB Phillip Gaines, who could become the shutdown CB the Panthers need. Gaines has good NFL CB size at 6’0 3/8″ (5’11 3/4″), 193 (194.5) but 197 at his Pro Day, 31 7/8″ arms, and 9 5/8″ hands. Except for tiny fractions in 3 events, Gaines was above average for all 3 year starters at CB during this 14 year period, running an “official” Combine 4.38-40 (4.44-40), 1.49-10 yard split (1.54-10), 2.49-20 yard split (2.58-20), 1.87 (1.86) flying 20, 4.04-20 yard shuttle (4.09), 6.62-3 cone drill (6.94), 36 1/2″ vertical (36.9″), and 15 bench reps (15.6). Gaines was drafted by the Chiefs, at #87.

    3rd Round (#92) – WR/RB/Returner Dri Archer. I really wanted to trade this pick for some late round picks (5th, 6th, and a 7th rounder or 2, to get WR Jeff Janis #236, CB Travis Carrie #219, WLB Brandon Watts #223, and TE Blake Annen UDFA), but that might be a little unbelievable now, and it would have been very hard to workout such a trade Two of the players I considered at #92 were DE Jackson Jeffcoat (UDFA) who’s a tweener (small even for a “small” DE at 247 pounds, but his Combine numbers are better than Kony Ealy’s), and Dri Archer. Archer is short to be a WR at 5’8 1/4″, and at 173 pounds he’s too small to play RB, but he has fantastic speed,”unofficially” a 4.16-40, “officially” a 4.26-40 (4.22-40), 1.46-10 yard split (1.59), 2.34-20 yard split (2.59), 1.60 flying 20 (1.88), 4.06-20 yard shuttle (4.19), 6.86-3 cone drill (6.96), 38″ vertical (36.6″), and 122″ broad jump (121.2″), all of these workout numbers are better than the average for 3 year starters at WR in the NFL, while his 20 yard split and flying 20 times established new records. He was drafted by the Steelers at #97. Archer could play slot receiver, and terrify opponents as a returner.

    4th Round (#128) – CB/FS Dontae Johnson. He played at NC St. and has great size (6’2 1/4″, 200, 31 1/2″ arms, and 8 5/8″ hands) to match up with the tall WR’s in the NFC South. I had hoped that I could get him in the 5th round, but with all the S’s and CB’s already gone, I needed to take him in the 4th round (he went to the 49ers at #129) or lose him. Here are how Johnson’s Combine numbers stack up, a 4.45-40 (CB-4.44 and S-4.52), 1.53-10 yard split (CB-1.54 and S-1.56), 2.53-20 yard split (CB-2.58 and S-2.63), 1.92 flying 20 (minimums CB 1.89 and S-1.93), 4.24-20 yard shuttle (minimums CB-4.15 and S-4.19), 12 bench reps (minimums CB-14.6 and S-17.2), 38 1/2″ vertical (CB 36.9″ and 36.3), and 124″ broad jump (CB-122.6″ and S-120.4″). Johnson’s numbers are a little uneven, above average for all 3 year starters, but the flying 20, 20 yard shuttle, and 3 cone drill are below the average for all those tested at the Combine.

    5th Round (#168) – LT/G/C Garrett Scott. Scott exploded from out of nowhere (Marshall) at his Pro Day, running a 5.05-40 (5.21-40), 1.64-10 yard split (1.80-10), 2.93-20 (3.02-20), 4.40-20 yard shuttle (4.71), 7.09-3 cone drill (7.87), 25 bench reps (25.1), 33 1/2″ vertical (29.3″), and 115″ broad jump (103.5″). All of Scott’s Pro Day workout numbers are better than average for OT’s starting at least 3 years in the NFL, and if his numbers had been performed at the Combine, he would have set new records for OT’s 10 yard splits and 3 cone drill. Scott has good size for an NFL OT, at 6’4 1/2″, 307 pounds, 34 7/4″ long arms, and 9 7/8″ hands. He should have been able to back up all 5 O-Line spots this season, and be ready to start at OT in 2015, perhaps allowing Bitonio to move to G.. However, all this changed when after he was drafted (#199 pick of the Seahawks), it was discovered that Scott has a heart problem that will prevent him from playing this season (and possibly longer, no one knows yet). As you can tell, I would not have made the trade up to #148 that the Panthers did.

    6th Round (#204) – WR Jeff Janis. At this point I was shocked that Janis was still available, I’d expected him to go before the Panthers 5th round pick, so I can’t pass him up. Most of the players I’d thought about taking with this pick are already gone, and Janis is a great developmental WR prospect. He has great size at 6’2 7/8″, 219, 32 1/2″ arms, and 9 ” hands, but he players smaller and softer so far, while his NFL minimum size hands could be a problem with drops and fumbles. Janis had great Combine numbers,an “unofficial” 4.30-40, an “official” 4.42-40 (4.47-40), 1.47-10 yard split (1.54-10), 2.48-20 yard split (2.59-20), 1.94 flying 20 (minimum 1.90), 3.98-20 yard shuttle (4.19), 6.64-3 cone drill (6.96), 37 1/2″ vertical (36 1/2′), and 123″ broad jump (121.3″). All of Janis numbers except for the flying 20 (which is below average for all WR’s tested at the Combine), are above average for 3 year starters at WR in the NFL. He could develop into a good starting WR in a year or 2. Janis was the #236 pick of the Packers, the 3rd WR they drafted, and they already have 3 good starting WR’s, so he might not survive the final roster cuts, but that won’t do the Panthers any good, unless they trade for him.

    7th Round (#225) – DE Jackson Jeffcort. This was a tough decision among 3 players. TE Blake Annen is very fast, running a 4.41-40 (4.75-40), 1.61-10 yard split (1.66-10), 2.52-20 yard split (2.76-20), 1.89 flying 20 (1.99), 4.30-20 yard shuttle (4.30), 7.19-3 cone drill (minimum 7.20), 25 bench reps (22.9), 34″ vertical (34″), and a 120″ broad jump (114.5″). So, except for his 3 cone drill, which was just a little above the average of all TE’s tested, all the rest either tied (20 yard shuttle) or were better than the average for 3 year starters at TE, but he didn’t catch many passes, and went undrafted. S Lonnie Ballentine has great straight-line speed, a 4.38-40 (4.52-40), 1.51-10 yard split (1.56-10), 2.59-20 yard shuttle (2.63), and a 1.79 flying 20 (1.90), are all better than the average for 3 year starters at S, but his change of direction skills, a 4.47-20 yard shuttle (minimum 4.19), and 7.18-3 cone drill (minimum 7.04) are far below the average of all S’s tested. He was the last player drafted (#256). So I chose DE Jackson Jeffcoat who’s a tweener, small for a DE, but not able to play OLB, who was expected to go in the 3rd or 4th round was my choice, even if he only becomes a situational pass rusher. Jeffcoat had a good Combine workout, running a 4.63-40 (4.74-40), 1.60-10 yard split (1.66-10), 2.60-20 yard split (2.75-20), 2.03 flying 20 (minimum 2.03), 4.18-20 yard shuttle (4.28), 6.97-3 cone drill (7.21), 18 bench reps (minimum 23.5), and 123″ broad jump (118.3″). So, except for his below average bench reps, for all small DE’s tested bench reps, and his average flying 20 time for all small DE’s tested, all his numbers are above average for 3 year starters at DE, and better overall than Kony Ealy. Jeffcoat is limited by his small size, 6’3″, 247 pounds, 33 7/8″ arms, and 9 5/8″ hands.

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