On the Clock: Carolina Panthers
Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
Team needs: Defensive line, cornerback, wide receiver
|AP Photo/Darron Cummings|
|The Panthers are going to be looking for help at defensive end and might tab Paul Kruger with their first pick.|
Dream scenario: At the moment, the Panthers don't have a pick until the second round (No. 59 overall). They traded away their first-round pick to get tackle Jeff Otah in last year's draft. There's no doubting that move because it worked out well. The Panthers could still possibly end up back in the first round depending on how the Julius Peppers situation plays out. In a perfect world, the Panthers would trade Peppers for two first-round picks. But they probably would take a first-round choice combined with another pick. That would allow them to have a shot at a replacement for Peppers or a quality defensive tackle. Much would depend on where they landed in the first round, but defensive end Michael Johnson and defensive tackle Peria Jerry could be possibilities if the Panthers can move somewhere into the top 32.
Plan B: Even if they stay at No. 59, the needs don't change, but the talent pool does. The Panthers need to find a replacement for Peppers, even if he stays because he won't stay for long. Utah defensive end Paul Kruger could be the pick. He's athletic and could become an every-down player if he adds some bulk. The Panthers have had very good luck with Utah players, hitting big when they drafted Steve Smith and Jordan Gross. Another possibility could be Ohio State wide receiver Brian Robiskie. Although he might not have great measurable skills, he's a very polished receiver and could contribute right away behind Smith and Muhsin Muhammad and be an eventual replacement for Muhammad.
Who has the final say: General manager Marty Hurney and coach John Fox pride themselves on saying neither truly has final say because they're able to reach an agreement on every decision. That's true and Hurney and Fox are very good and methodical at working through the tough choices and reaching a consensus that includes input from their scouts and coaches.