2015 Draft in Review: Carolina Panthers
The NFL draft is over and it suddenly seems like a long time to wait for the next meaningful event on the NFL calendar. But frankly we’re still excited trying to break down what it all means for each team and so we’re going to share some of that excitement.
That’s right every team is going to have each pick broken down as well as a look at their undrafted free agents. Next up we’re looking to the NFC South, and the defending division champion Carolina Panthers.
Round 1: Shaq Thompson, LB, Washington
While Thompson has the athleticism that teams look for, there are serious questions about his ability to get off of blocks against the run. He had the 12th highest coverage grade in the class, but was tied for just 56th against the run. Possibly over drafted based on several big plays in 2014, the Panthers took a big risk here.
Depth Chart Fit: Right now he’ll likely compete with A.J. Klein for the final starting linebacker spot.
Round 2: Devin Funchess, WR, Michigan
One of the most polarizing players in this draft class, Funchess didn’t impress as much as some of the other receivers left on the board. His best fit is as a “big slot” type of receiver, but in our eyes Jaelen Strong was the best player left to fill that role. His Yards Per Route Run average of 2.19 was just the 21st highest mark in this class.
Depth Chart Fit: He’ll compete for significant playing time straight away, battling with Jerricho Cotchery and Ted Ginn for opportunities.
Round 4: Darryl Williams, T, Oklahoma
A position many would argue that the Panthers should have addressed even earlier, they at least drafted an offensive tackle with their third pick. With 10 total pressures allowed from 399 pass blocking snaps, his Pass Blocking Efficiency of 98.1 was tied for the eighth in this class.
Depth Chart Fit: He’ll compete for a starting spot right away and, with Michael Oher and Mike Remmers as the starters heading into the draft, it wouldn’t be a shock to see him start from Day 1.
Round 5: David Mayo, LB, Texas State
He might not have played much against top competition, and had his struggles in coverage, but Mayo was productive against the run. With 35 tackles resulting in a defensive stop against the run from 324 snaps in run defense, Mayo had the fourth-highest Run Stop Percentage amongst 4-3 outside linebackers in this class at 10.8.
Depth Chart Fit: With Thompson a more likely candidate to see starters snaps in 2014, Mayo will likely be limited to Special Teams.
Round 5: Cameron Artis-Payne, Auburn
Only Melvin Gordon forced more missed tackles on the ground in this draft class, than the 64 forced by Artis-Payne. Grading positively in all but two games in 2014, he is definitely a sleeper candidate for the Panthers, even if he is limited in 2015.
Depth Chart Fit: With Jonathan Stewart, Mike Tolbert and Jordan Todman likely ahead of him in the queue for carries, he’ll compete with Fozzy Whittaker at the bottom end of the position.
Brian Blechen, S, Utah: 943 snaps for Blechen, with small positive grades both against the run and in coverage.
Arthur Miley, DI, Southern University: Just 71 underwhelming snaps against FBS opposition for Miley in 2014.
Damiere Byrd, WR, South Carolina: A concerning four drops from just 24 catchable passes in 2014 for Byrd.
Dean Marlowe, S, James Madison: Just 86 snaps against FBS opposition for Marlowe, with a small negative grade.
Darious Cummings, DI, Florida: From 555 snaps, Cummings committed eight penalties, tied for the most of any interior defensive lineman in this draft class.
Brandon Wegher, HB, Morningside: No snaps against FBS opposition for the Morningside HB.
Steve Miller, ED, Ohio State: He struggled as a pass rusher, but Miller had the 14th-highest grade against the run of any 4-3 defensive end in this class.
Matt Wile, K/P, Michigan: Connected on just 71.4% of his field goals in 2014, punting once for 44 yards too.
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