Carolina Panthers 2017 Draft Review

1st/8 Christian McCaffrey, RB

Ht.: 5’11 Wt.: 202 School: Stanford

By drafting McCaffrey, the Panthers were able to add much more than just a traditional running back. The addition adds some much needed sizzle and creativity to the Panther offense. As a runner McCaffrey can be used to compliment to Jonathan Stewart providing lighting to Stewart’s thunder. While as a pass catcher McCaffrey can work out of the slot matching up on underneath routes against linebackers or safeties as their big receivers work downfield.

 

2nd/40 Curtis Samuel, WR

Ht.: 5’11 Wt.: 196 School: Ohio State

Selecting Samuel early in the second round is a little intriguing as both him and McCaffrey are similar players that look to fill similar roles. That being said Samuel is more of a receiver than running back and could be the Panthers choice to fill the Ted Ginn Jr. deep threat role. Carolina is clearly revamping their offense by adding versatile speed pieces to go along with their traditional tall receivers in Benjamin and Funchess.

 

2nd/64 Taylor Moton, OT

Ht.: 6’5 Wt.: 319 School: Western Michigan

Offensive line was such a thin position that after an injury right guard Trai Turner had to play tackle and was completely exposed. Signing Matt Kalil fills the left tackle opening but adding Moton gives the Panthers a powerful run blocker at right tackle. In most schemes Moton may have to move inside because he lacks good lateral agility but since the Panthers run more and have Cam Newton they can manage Moton outside.

 

3rd/77 Daeshon Hall, DE

Ht.: 6’5 Wt.: 266 School: Texas A&M

Having capable pass rushers is not the problem it is adding a young pass rusher to the mix is what the Panthers are hoping for. Hall has the raw physical tools to succeed as a pass rusher but still needs to develop his pass rushing moves. Hall will not be counted on to come in and provide an instant impact and instead can learn from Charles Johnson and Julius Peppers as he continues to develop.

 

5th/152 Corn Elder, CB

Ht.: 5’10 Wt.: 183 School: Miami

After using three straight draft picks on cornerbacks in the 2016 Draft the Panthers are still looking for their next Josh Norman. Elder lacks good athletic traits and will never be seen as a shutdown corner but his good instincts and the ability to play the run will keep him close to the line in Carolina’s zone heavy scheme.

 

6th/192 Alexander Armah, FB

Ht.: 6’0 Wt.: 244 School: West Georgia

With so many college teams running spread offenses it makes finding true fullbacks difficult. This forces teams to look at prospects at other positions like San Francisco did with Bruce Miller who was also a college linebacker. Armah played some tight end at West Georgia which could make his transition easier.

 

7th/233 Harrison Butker, K

Ht.: 6’4 Wt.: 199 School: Georgia Tech

After a down year by Graham Gano the Panthers wanted to add some competition and drafted a kicker for only the second time in franchise history. Butker is Georgia Tech’s all-time leading scorer who possesses good leg strength while improving on his accuracy in his final season.

 

Best Pick

McCaffrey (first round)

 

Upside Pick

Hall (third round)

 

Overall Thoughts

The Super Bowl hangover exposed some glaring holes for the Panthers that they were able to fill throughout this draft. It is hard to think there was another team who had a better first four picks as all four prospects have a legitimate shot to winning starting roles or at least will be part of a rotation.

Grade: A

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