Tom Sorensen

With No. 8 pick, Panthers need to get on board with NFL’s running back renaissance

LSU running back Leonard Fournette (7) could offer the Carolina Panthers a chance to join the NFL’s running back renaissance.
LSU running back Leonard Fournette (7) could offer the Carolina Panthers a chance to join the NFL’s running back renaissance. AP

The NFL draft begins April 27, and the Carolina Panthers have the eighth pick. Some mock drafts have the Panthers choosing Leonard Fournette, the superb running back out of Louisiana State.

Why would Fournette be available? The Los Angeles Rams (then in St. Louis) drafted Todd Gurley with the 10th pick in the 2015 draft, and Gurley had a fine rookie season. Last season his team turned terrible, and he was caught up in it. But he can play, and he’ll prove it.

Last season, the Dallas Cowboys selected Ezekiel Elliott with the draft’s fourth pick. Elliott was sensational, and the running back renaissance was on.

If I’m Dave Gettleman, and the Fournette is available, I jump. If he’s not, I invest the pick on Dalvin Cook out of Florida State.

The Panthers have many needs, as does every other team. The Panthers need at least one and probably two offensive linemen. They need a safety.

What they desperately need is a spark. They need somebody in the huddle who compels a defensive coordinator to say, “How do we stop this guy?”

A receiver could provide the spark. As good as Ted Ginn Jr. has been, imagine him paired with another fast and talented receiver.

I hope the Panthers invest the pick on a running back. Remember when Jonathan Stewart was paired with DeAngelo Williams? Add a fast and elusive back, use Stewart as change-up and prolong his career.

Tom Sorensen is a retired Charlotte Observer columnist. Sign up for his newsletter, and follow him on Twitter: @tomsorensen

More from this issue of the Tom Talks newsletter:

  Comments