Countdown to Combine: Carolina Panthers DL


A closer look at the areas the Carolina Panthers could address in the draft. Today we'll look at the defensive linemen, who are scheduled to work out on Sunday in Indianapolis.

Position of need: As general manager Dave Gettleman is quick to remind he'll never pass on a quality big man on the defensive or offensive line. He stunned many by selecting a defensive tackle in the first two rounds of the 2013 draft. With veteran defensive tackles Colin Cole and Dwan Edwards scheduled to become unrestricted free agents and with no one player proven ready to replace Greg Hardy at defensive end, there may be better options on the defensive front than at offensive tackle at No. 25.

Three players the Panthers could target in the draft:

Eddie Goldman (DT), Florida State: Imagine adding this 6-foot-3, 315-pound specimen to a four-man rotation that includes 2013 first-round pick Star Lotulelei and 2013 second-round pick Kawann Short. Goldman has violent hands, and defensive coordinator Sean McDermott loves defensive linemen with violent hands. If he slips to No. 25 don't look for him to slip further.

Jordan Phillips (DT), Oklahoma: At 6-5, 334 he's definitely a space-eater that ties up blocks and allows the linebackers to make plays like Colin Cole has done for Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis. He has the potential to be a dominant run stopper and Gettleman won't pass on a dominant run stopper. Of the three I mention here, he might be the most likely to be available.

Arik Armstead (DE), Oregon: Some have the 6-8, 290-pound Armstead playing end in a 3-4 scheme, but he also fits the mold of a player that could play end and tackle in Carolina's 4-3 scheme. He's big and powerful, and has great quickness of the edge. He could be totally disruptive to a passing game. He's projected by ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper to be a top 10 pick, but others have him falling.