A round-by-round projection of the Carolina Panthers’ picks in the NFL draft:
Round 1, pick 25: Owa Odighizuwa, DE, UCLA – The pass rusher has the body – 6-foot-3 and 273 pounds – of a prototypical 4-3 defensive end. His 4.62-second 40 and 39-inch vertical are among the best in the defensive end class. The Panthers need a right defensive end to replace Greg Hardy, and with some coaching, Odighizuwa can use his hands and speed better to get to the passer. There is concern about his hips – he had surgery on them in 2013 – but the Panthers liked him enough to have Ron Rivera sit down with him in California earlier this spring. With the top tackles off the board and wide receiver talent later, Dave Gettleman adds to his defensive line.
Round 2, pick 57: Donovan Smith, OT, Penn State – At 6-foot-6 and 338 pounds, Smith doesn’t do anything especially well as a tackle. But he does a lot of good things, and he’s really shown that in the pre-draft season. He quietly had a great Senior Bowl and a solid combine, and he’s a high-character guy. Even if he doesn’t work out at tackle, where he started 31 games for the Nittany Lions, he can move inside to guard, where his body may be best suited.
Round 3, pick 89: Tyler Lockett, WR/PR, Kansas State – This is a value pick. Lockett won against press coverage for two years with the Wildcats and can return punts. A year in the system can make him a true No. 3 for Carolina.
Round 4, pick 124: Cody Prewitt, S, Ole Miss – At 6-foot-2, 208 pounds and a touch slow, Prewitt will work at strong safety.
Round 4, pick 140* (trade): Cameron Artis-Payne, RB, Auburn – Carolina trades pick 161 and its sixth-round pick of 201 overall to scoot up into the fourth round and snag a running back.
Round 5, pick 169 (compensatory): Blake Bell, TE, Oklahoma – A former quarterback turned tight end who ran a 4.80 40.
Round 5, pick 174 (compensatory): Mark Glowinski, G, West Virginia – A true guard with a tackle background who benched 225 pounds 31 times.
Round 7, pick 242: Damian Swann, CB, Georgia – Good enough for second-team All-SEC last season.
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