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Mocking the Panthers 5.0

Posted Apr 2, 2014

Last week, we expanded our review of mock drafts with a look at what some NFL Draft forecasters are saying about the second round. This week, we'll take it several steps further.

Drafttek.com offers a seven-round consensus mock draft and has just rolled out the ninth version of it. The website "uses a computer model to simulate a 7-round 2014 NFL Mock Draft. Each team has an analyst who supplies data on 2014 NFL Draft team needs. The team needs are matched up against a list of 2014 NFL Draft prospect rankings in order to generate each selection."

In other words, it – like virtually every mock draft – relies heavily on perceived team needs rather than the best-available-player model the Panthers advocate.

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First round (No. 28 overall)
T Morgan Moses, Virginia

The 6-6, 314-pound offensive lineman is an intriguing prospect who has started showing up in the first round of more and more mocks. The Drafttek.com draft has Notre Dame tackle Zack Martin still on the board when the Panthers pick but list him as a guard, perhaps one reason why the site has Carolina leaning toward Moses.

Wide receivers Brandin Cooks and Kelvin Benjamin are also available when the Panthers pick.

"PantherNation is foaming at the mouth to draft a top-flight WR at this spot; however, that is not how this team is going to be built," Drafttek.com analyst Erin Ford writes.

Second round (No. 60 overall)
WR Davante Adams, Fresno State

"This team needs a TD-catching machine to kick this offense into a higher gear," Ford writes. "At 6-2 and 209 pounds, Devante Adams could be that target."

Ford points out that Adams scored in 22 of his 26 college games. He scored multiple times in many of them, amassing 233 catches for 3,030 yards and 38 touchdowns in just two seasons.

The Drafttek.com mock still has wideouts Jarvis Landry and Paul Richardson on the board when the Panthers select. Notre Dame tight end Troy Niklas is also available, a player that an earlier mock draft targeted as Carolina's first-round choice.

Third round (No. 92 overall)
T Billy Turner, North Dakota State

Turner is a winner, starting all 45 games at left tackle the last three seasons and helping the Bison win three Football Championship Subdivision titles.

Drafttek.com has tackles Ju'Wuan James of Tennessee and Joel Bitonio of Nevada as the Panthers' top "alternate picks" at this spot – a pair of players that a pair of mockers had going to Carolina in the second round in Mocking the Panthers 4.0. While James will likely play tackle in the NFL, there's debate whether Turner and Bitonio will stay outside or be moved to guard.

Fourth round (No. 128 overall)
DT Will Sutton, Arizona State

This projected pick fits the best-available player model more than most, with some seeing Sutton being chosen as early as the second round. The two-time PAC-12 Defensive Player of the Year was listed at 267 pounds but weighed in at 303 at the NFL Scouting Combine, yet he's quick like a 267-pounder.

For what it's worth, the Drafttek.com board still includes Lindenwood cornerback Pierre Desir, who one mocker has as the Panthers' first-round selection.

Fifth round (No. 168 overall)
G Chris Watt, Notre Dame

In this mock draft, Watt becomes the third offensive lineman – along with a defensive lineman and wide receiver – drafted by the Panthers. Think it couldn't happen? Well, think back to just last year when Carolina selected defensive tackles in the first and second rounds.

Drafttek.com's five picks before Watt include North Carolina tackle James Hurst and Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd.

Sixth round (No. 204 overall)
CB Bene Benwikere, San Jose State

Benwikere, who played at the same high school as Southern California receivers Robert Woods and Marqise Lee, got his hands on a few passes himself, recording 14 career interceptions. Another intriguing cornerback still on Drafttek.com's board at this point is Virginia Tech product Antone Exum, a versatile defensive back plagued by injuries last season.

Seventh round (No. 225 overall)
WR Matt Hazel, Coastal Carolina

The Panthers select higher in the final round – 10th – because they acquired the pick from the New York Giants in exchange for Jon Beason while trading their own seventh-round choice to the San Francisco 49ers for Colin Jones.

Hazel, who caught 28 career touchdown passes for the Chanticleers, could develop into a solid NFL receiver. If the Panthers were instead looking for someone to thwart receivers at this spot, Drafttek.com has UNC safety Tre Boston and N.C. State cornerback Dontae Johnson still on the board.