Evan Silva (@EvanSilva) is the Senior Football Editor for Rotoworld's NFL Page, and Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) leads Rotoworld's college football and NFL draft coverage. Together, they're breaking down every team's biggest needs and offering potential solutions in May's draft.
For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.
No. 1 Team Need: Offensive tackle
Michael Oher and Jonathan Martin are just dart throws the Panthers will bring to camp to compete. Oher is best fit for a swing-tackle role, and Martin may not even make the team. GM Dave Gettleman won't stop searching in the draft. One year after uncovering a potential gem in RT Mike Remmers, Gettleman needs to solidify left tackle for the long term. It's also worth noting that fourth-year UDFA Remmers' performance slipped the more he played last season. The Panthers shouldn't necessarily be counting on him as a locked-in solution.
No. 2 Team Need: Wide receiver
The Panthers fielded one of the NFL's slowest offenses in 2014. Kelvin Benjamin's stats look nice on a sheet of paper, but were the product of extreme volume. He gets minimal separation and does not create after the catch. No. 2 wideout Jerricho Cotchery turns 33 in June and has next to nothing left. Philly Brown is hardly a long-term building block, while practice squadder Stephen Hill is an enigma. Ted Ginn is best suited as a No. 4 receiver/return specialist. Although adding speed at receiver should be a priority for Gettleman, so too should size and catching radius help compensate for Cam Newton's erratic ball placement.
No. 3 Team Need: Defensive end
The Panthers may seem deep at defensive end with Mario Addison, Kony Ealy and Frank Alexander behind LE Charles Johnson and RE Wes Horton. Greg Hardy's 2014 absence exposed Carolina as needy on the edge, however, as Horton was forced to log heavy snaps and showed an inability to consistently impact opposing passing games. The Panthers could also use reinforcements at strong safety, weak-side linebacker, No. 2 tailback and outside corner.
Norris’ Mock Draft
Round 1 (25): T Ereck Flowers, Miami - I mock this selection with gritted teeth. As Evan said, Oher and Martin are nothing more than adequate talents at best. I do not view them as upgrades. Flowers has power due to strength and frame… but I just don’t love him at this selection. However, I am not naive. I know teams and evaluators will disagree with me. Flowers is so all over the place with his movement, and it leads to balance issues. Development is needed.
Round 2 (57): EDGE/DL Mario Edwards, FSU - A hog molly for the lord of hog mollies, Dave Gettleman. Like last year’s second round pick Kony Ealy, Edwards is in need of major development. The Ealy selection last year showed us the team is willing to take on this kind of prospect, but will the minimal impact early on prevent them from repeating the selection? I bet the NFL likes Edwards more than those on the outside.
Round 3 (89): WR Tre McBride, William & Mary - I love McBride’s game. Absolutely love it, and rank him higher than many bigger name receivers. He is explosive, agile, large and willing to win in contested situations. He can be a productive player early on.
Round 4 (124): LB Mike Hull, Penn State - Hull is most comfortable on the inside but has experience at each spot. I’m not saying he can replace Thomas Davis, but it is time the team invests in a long term replacement. I would not be surprised if that is done earlier in the fourth-round.
Round 5 (161): S Chris Hackett, TCU - Hackett fit with the narrative of TCU prospects at the Combine: aggressive tape, slow or poor testing numbers. If teams focus on the second part of that sentence, which they have, Hackett would be a nice selection on the third day of the draft.
Round 5 (169): RB Matt Jones, Florida - The Panthers have selected running backs in the sixth round each of the last two years. Neither remains on the roster. Jones tested like a below average athlete at the Combine, but he can help on passing downs early on. He is surprisingly agile for his size.
Round 5 (174): WR Jamison Crowder, Duke - Crowder is a leap of faith candidate. I know he improved his results at Duke’s pro day, but the Combine showed a small receiver without athleticism to overcome the numbers. That could land him in the fifth round, or even later. I think Crowder will have success.
Round 7 (242): DT Quayshawne Buckley, Idaho - Dwan Edwards re-signed for two years, but he’s no lock to make it to the end of that contract. Buckley is an intriguing later round upfield disruptor. ECU’s Terry Williams is another option, but his talent warrants a higher selection.
Current Panthers Offensive Depth Chart
QB: Cam Newton
RB: Jonathan Stewart
FB: Mike Tolbert
WR: Kelvin Benjamin
TE: Greg Olsen
LT: Michael Oher
LG: Andrew Norwell
C: Ryan Kalil
RG: Trai Turner
RT: Mike Remmers
Current Panthers Defensive Depth Chart
LE: Charles Johnson
RE: Wes Horton
DT: Star Lotulelei
DT: Kawann Short
MLB: Luke Kuechly
WLB: A.J. Klein
SLB: Thomas Davis
CB: Josh Norman
CB: Bene Benwikere
FS: Tre Boston
SS: Roman Harper