With the ninth pick in the 2012 BGN Community Mock Draft, HawaiianGreen selects...
Michael Floyd: WR, Notre Dame
When I look at the Panthers, we see a young, hungry group that showed promise and potential under rookie head coach Ron Rivera and rookie quarterback Cam Newton. The Panthers were in most if not all of their games in 2011, but like the Eagles, couldn't finish games. The Panthers are much better than their 6-10 record they received in 2011, and should make some major noise next season. Heck, because the Saints were caught red handed, I expect the Panthers to win their division against an overrated Falcons team and a rebuilding Bucs team. There is much to be excited about if you're a Carolina Panther fan.
But to do so, they need to shore up a couple deficiencies. Because a majority of their needs would be reaches at the #9 spot in the draft, I'd be looking to trade down. The Panthers need to address WR, OL, DL, and DB. Taking a look at the offensive line, Riley Ratliff is a sure fire top 10 tackle, but the Panthers are set with LT Jordan Gross and RT Jeff Otah. DB's across the board aren't good enough to take with a top 10 pick outside of Morris Claiborne.
More after the jump...
So that leaves DL and WR left as needs. A majority of mock drafts have the Panthers taking DT Dontari Poe, to help shore up a lack luster defense that struggled to defend the run, which makes sense because they were 25th in the league against the run, allowing 130.8 yards per game. But taking Poe is a huge mistake for the Panthers, Eagles or really any team in need of a DT. He's a workout warrior, not an established college player like Haloti Ngata or Ndamukong Suh. This guy was projected as a late day two pick, but made it up to a top ten pick in one weekend. DO NOT WANT.
Although the need at DL cannot be ignored, I'm going offense instead, and here's why. Both the Falcons and the Saints ranked higher overall in passing in the NFL. The league is a passing one, and even with the best defense, 9/10 times the best defenses don't win a championship. The Falcons, rated at 8th overall have explosive weapons Roddy White and Julio Jones. The Saints might be screwed this year, but they still have Marques Colston and a plethora of WR's that are made better by Drew Brees, who ranked 1st overall. The Bucs added enormous talent on the offensive side of the ball with former Saint Carl Nicks and former Charger Vincent Jackson, adding that to a really good offensive line, WR Mike Williams, and promising QB Josh Freeman, they will definitely be better than their 16th ranking last season. That means the Panthers need to keep pace with not only their division, but the entire league, that have 3 and 4 WR's that could be 2nd's on most other teams. That's why Michael Floyd makes the most sense for the value of their pick.
Here's what the Panthers get immediately with Floyd:
1. Arguably the most talented receiver in the draft before Justin Blackmon's spectacular pro-day
2. A complete receiver that goes along with vertical threat Steve Smith and Brandon Lafell
3. Future replacement for Steve Smith
While the Panthers currently have multiple young promising WR's, most haven't proven much of anything yet. Former third rounder WR Brandon Lafell only has 74 receptions, 1,081 receiving yards and 4 TD's after two years. Most WR's get more that that in one. He's also the most accomplished young receiver the Panthers have, so that should say a lot.
While trading down makes the most sense, Michael Floyd gives that most bang for their buck at #9.
Next on the clock will be NJEagle with the Buffalo Bills.