Save Money in this Sunday's paper

comments

2013 NFL draft: 5 things for Carolina Panthers fans to watch

More Information


Five things to watch as the NFL draft gets under way with the first round Thursday:

Gettleman getting defensive

In his first draft as the Panthers’ general manager, Dave Gettleman said he expects to find starters with the first two picks. If his history with the Giants is any guide, expect one, and maybe both, of those picks to be defensive players. In 14 drafts after Gettleman became New York’s pro personnel director in 1999, the Giants took seven defensive linemen and six defensive backs among 27 first- and second-round picks. The Panthers’ biggest needs are at defensive tackle and in the secondary, which happen to be two of the deepest positions in the draft. Carolina should be able to make the most of its five picks.

Tracking the NFC South

Atlanta and Tampa Bay were big players this offseason, with the Falcons signing running back Steven Jackson and the Bucs acquiring cornerback Darrelle Revis. But the Falcons have major holes on defense, where they have released three of their top five cornerbacks. Atlanta is hoping someone such as Desmond Trufant falls to them at 30. The Saints have more defensive needs than Atlanta after allowing more yards than any team in NFL history last season. They could use a pass rusher, maybe Georgia’s Jarvis Jones. The Bucs, who gave the Jets the 13th pick for Revis, will look for an offensive tackle in the second round.

Draft day trades

Last year there were eight trades on the first day of the draft. This year there are about as many teams hopeful to trade down, but seemingly not many takers willing to go up. San Francisco, with 13 picks, seems the only team willing to make a jump from its spot at 31. At least six teams in the top 12 are reportedly making calls to trade down. The Panthers would like to trade down to replace the third-round pick they sent to San Francisco last year to draft defensive end Frank Alexander. A team that covets Tavon Austin, such as St. Louis, could switch spots with Carolina.

Move over, quarterbacks

In 10 of the past 12 years, a quarterback has been picked first overall. But this year that honor is expected to go to one of two guys charged with protecting the quarterback’s blind side. Offensive tackles Luke Joeckel of Texas A&M and Eric Fisher of Central Michigan are the favorites for Kansas City’s No. 1 pick. Since 1967, only three offensive linemen have been the first pick, and all were tackles – Hall-of-Famer Ron Yary (1968), Orlando Pace (1997) and Jake Long (2008).

Who will be this draft’s Da’Quan Bowers?

Remember 2011, when Clemson’s defensive end was invited to Radio City Music Hall with the thought he would be one of the first names announced by commissioner Roger Goodell? Yes, his offseason knee surgery hurt his stock, but no one expected him to fall to the second round. This year the NFL invited 23 players to New York City, and it’s inevitable not everyone will be chosen Thursday night. Though he’s one of the top dual-threat QBs in this class, Florida State’s E.J. Manuel may be the one sticking around Manhattan another day.

Joseph Person and Jonathan Jones

Carolina Panthers Draft

The Panthers have five picks overall. They are:

Round 1: No. 14 overall

Round 2: No. 44

Round 4: No. 108

Round 5: No. 148

Round 6: No. 182

Potential first-round targets: Utah defensive tackle Star Lotulelei, Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson, West Virginia wide receiver Tavon Austin, Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro, Florida State cornerback Xavier Rhodes.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

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 local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

  Read more



Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

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 local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

  Read more


Quick Job Search
Salary Databases