*Rd. is projected round taken
|1. Jeff Locke||P||UCLA||6-1, 209||3-4||Scouts think the left-footer is as good as Bryan Anger, Jacksonvilles third-round pick last year.|
|2. Dustin Hopkins||K||Florida State||6-2, 193||6-7||Hit 25 of 30 field goals, with a long of 56 yards, as a senior.|
|3. Quinn Sharp||K/P||Oklahoma State||6-1, 189||6-7||Can handle all three phases in the kicking game.|
|4. Caleb Sturgis||K||Florida||5-10, 188||7||Missed four field goals last season, three of which were blocked.|
|5. Brett Maher||K||Nebraska||6-0, 186||7-UFA||Latest Cornhuskers specialist who should be kicking on Sundays.|
Panthers perspective: Carolina used a sixth-round pick last year on punter Brad Nortman, who had an up-and-down rookie season. The Panthers will stick with Nortman, but want to see more consistency. The Panthers have cycled through three kickers since cutting John Kasay. The job is Graham Ganos until its not.
Local connections: UNC kicker Casey Barth has the bloodlines. Older brother Connor is Tampa Bays kicker. Casey finished with a school-record 62 field goals after hitting 15 of 18 as a senior. Hes a longshot to get drafted, but should end up in someones camp.
Sleeper: Appalachian State punter Sam Martin is drawing interest from at least one team as a possible late-round pick or undrafted free agent. Martin, a former soccer player who played one season of high school football in Georgia, had a pre-draft visit with Detroit following the Mountaineers pro day.
Worth noting: LSU punter Brad Wing, who grew up playing Australian Rules Football in Melbourne, left school early after averaging 44.6 yards a punt in two seasons at LSU. Wing, who was ineligible for the Chick-fil-A Bowl after failing a drug test, is the son of David Wing, who punted for the Lions and in NFL Europe.
The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.
Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email firstname.lastname@example.org to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.Read moreRead less