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Friday, May 2, 2014
Disagree with Kiper-McShay Panthers pick

By David Newton

No disrespect to ESPN draft analysts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay, but there is no way the Carolina Panthers will take the ninth wide receiver with the 28th pick of the NFL draft.

In case you missed it, Kiper Jr. and McShay held a mock draft on Thursday night in which they alternated picks for the first three rounds. No trades were allowed.

They went wide receiver-crazy in the first round. Here's a look at how that position went off the board:
Perhaps the biggest surprise here is that Florida State's Kelvin Benjamin, projected by many as a first-rounder, didn't go until the second round at No. 41 to Buffalo.

Back to the Panthers. General manager Dave Gettleman said this week that there were nine to 10 wide receivers and left tackles combined worthy of first-round consideration. He didn't break that down, but I would guess at best that is six wide receivers and three to four tackles.

Ealy
Gettleman also said he wouldn't reach for a player, meaning he wouldn't use a first-round pick on a player the Panthers have rated as a second-rounder.

He also said he would take the best player available, suggesting he would take a cornerback, pass-rushing end or even another defensive tackle -- Carolina used its top two picks on defensive tackles last season -- if that is how the board fell.

So based on the Kiper Jr. and McShay mock, I'm going with Missouri defensive end Kony Ealy at No. 28 as insurance in case the Panthers can't get a long-term deal with Greg Hardy. Or simply because he adds another weapon to the league's second-ranked defense.

Thursday night's mock had Carolina taking Tennessee offensive tackle Ja'Wuan James in the second round at No. 60 and North Dakota State tackle Billy Turner in the third round at No. 92.

I like both picks, but if the Panthers don't take a wide receiver in the first round they will take one in the second or third -- or both. There is still plenty of value there without reaching.

Here is a complete look Insider at the Kiper-McShay mock draft.