Carolina Panthers

NFL draft: Joseph Person’s round-by-round projections for the Carolina Panthers

Joseph Person’s round-by-round projections for the Carolina Panthers:

1st round (28): Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State: Think of the 6-5, 240-pound Benjamin as the receiving version of a hog mollie, Panthers GM Dave Gettleman’s term for gigantic lineman. There are more polished wideouts than Benjamin, but none that are going to be available when the Panthers pick 28th. Benjamin, who’s built like Cam Newton, would be a dangerous, red-zone target for Newton. The Miami native led the ACC with 15 TD catches last season, including the game-winner against Auburn in the BCS title game.

2nd round (60): Scott Crichton, DE, Oregon State: With Clemson WR Martavis Bryant off the board, Gettleman could reach for a so-so offensive tackle here. Or he could do what he said he might – boldly go after the best pass-rushing end available at 60 as insurance against Greg Hardy leaving next offseason.

3rd round (92): Robert Herron, WR, Wyoming: After taking Benjamin in the first round, Herron -- who ran three sub-4.4 40s at his pro day -- fills the Panthers’ need for a speed guy as they continue to replenish their receiving stock.

4th round (128): Billy Turner, OT, North Dakota State: Gettleman proved last year he won’t shy away from an offensive lineman from a small school -- especially when he has the size of the 6-5, 315-pound Turner.

5th round (168): Antone Exum, CB, Virginia Tech: Hybrid defensive back who can play safety or cornerback; Panthers’ coaches are familiar with him after scouting Kyle Fuller, the Hokies’ corner projected to go in the first round.

6th round (204): Richard Rodgers, TE, California: The Panthers, who plan to play more two-tight end sets in 2014, could take a late-round flier on the son of their special teams coordinator, Richard ‘Rock’ Rodgers.

7th round (225): Marquis Flowers, OLB, Arizona: The former safety has the size (6-3, 231) and speed (4.5 in the 40) necessary to be a mainstay on special teams, while providing linebacker depth.

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