Reader’s Mock Draft: Carolina Panthers are on the Clock

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Dec 22, 2012; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers players including linebackers Luke Kuechly (59) and Thomas Davis (58) and defensive back James Dockery (31) and head coach Ron Rivera and tight end Richie Brockel (47) react late in the game. The Panthers defeated the Raiders 17-6 at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL draft will be here before we know it.  Now that Free Agency has settled down, team needs have come into focus.  That could mean only one thing – it’s time for another mock draft!  But rather than us sitting back and throwing darts at the wall, we thought we’d let you join in the fun.  We’ll roll through the draft order and give each team choices based on team needs and the best players available and you’ll vote on the picks for each team. On with the countdown…

28. Carolina Panthers (12-4)

The Carolina Panthers are like the Chicago Bulls of the NFL. They have a great defense but they lack that one big playmaker to help them score, especially late in games. That problem was most apparent in the NFC Divisional playoffs when the offense couldn’t do anything right against the mighty San Francisco 49ers. Defensively, they are solid, putting it lightly. That all starts with standout linebacker Luke Kuechly, who finished with 156 tackles last year. The defense finished as the second best in the league only behind the World Champion Seattle Seahawks. Carolina does not need to focus on their elite defense in this year’s draft.

The offense, on the other hand, has a problem. Cam Newton, in my opinion, is a decent quarterback. He has a lot of talent that still needs some fine-tuning. DeAngelo Williams, Jonathan Stewart, Mike Tolbert and Newton himself complement each other nicely in the run game. Former Bear Greg Olsen is a solid tight end. Where’s the problem? None of these players are elite and the Panthers are virtually receiver-less. Steve Smith is gone as are many other decent Panther receivers. This draft the Panthers don’t need to replace Steve Smith; they just need to find a receiver or two who can make plays when it matters most. 

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