Panthers get mixed reviews on draft


Draft grades for the Carolina Panthers were all over board, with a high of A-minus from SI.com to a low of D from CBSSports.com.

Varying opinions on Florida State wide receiver Kelvin Benjamin taken with the 28th pick in the first round and the inability to get a left tackle to replace retired Jordan Gross were the biggest reasons for the disparity.

Locally, fans seem pleased. In a Charlotte Observer online poll, eight percent gave the class an A, 48 percent a B, 32 percent a C, 10 percent a D and two percent an F.

My grade was a B-minus. I liked the pick of Benjamin as a big target for quarterback Cam Newton, the second-round pick of Missouri defensive end Kony Ealy that I had going in the first round and LSU guard Trai Martin in the third.

I liked that Carolina didn't waste a pick on a tackle after the first four were gone because none graded out better than what was on the roster. The Panthers got good value in the lower rounds as well.

Not everybody will agree, which is why the post-draft fallout is as intriguing or more than the draft itself.

If you're curious what others are saying, here are seven other opinions:

ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. (C): Kiper suggest he may have selected Vanderbilt wide receiver Jordan Matthews in the first round over Benjamin. He called Ealy in the second round a "decent value.'' He was among those disappointed no tackle was selected.

SI.com (A-): Liked getting Ealy at the No. 60 pick of the second around and LSU guard Trai Turner in the third, and overall value versus need.

CBSSports.com (D): Didn't like the selection of Benjamin in the first round or Ealy in the second, or the fact that the team didn't get a left tackle.

SportingNews.com (B-minus): Biggest downgrade was the failure to get a left tackle, which is fair.

Bleacher Report (C-minus): Getting what is deemed a project in Benjamin and no offensive tackle were the biggest factors here.

SBNation.com (C-plus): Liked the selection of Ealy and Turner in the second and third rounds, and high on lower-round picks. Comment on Benjamin was "questionable hands.'' Can't give a high grade when the first-round pick gets a "questionable'' anything.

Rotoworld.com (B-minus): Liked need versus value throughout the draft, although not totally sold on Benjamin.