NFL Draft Pick Projection: Carolina Panthers At #9 Likely To Take Fletcher Cox, But Should They?

Two years ago, when the NFL regular season came to a close, the Carolina Panthers held the distinction of owning the worst record in the entire NFL at 3-13.

They also held the rights to the number one overall draft pick in the 2011 draft.


The Panthers made a bold statement with the selection of quarterback Cam Newton at the top of last year’s first round. I refer to this move as a bold one due to the scrutiny that Cam Newton found himself facing in the eyes of many so-called prognosticators.

Several NFL pundits were willing to overlook Newton’s feats on the football field, which included winning the national championship and a Heisman Trophy along the way, by concentrating more on the controversy that he carried with him to the NFL from the University of Auburn.

Many evaluators were willing to admit that the athletic signal caller was a great college quarterback but were unwilling to predict the same type of success at the NFL level.

Newton had a memorable rookie campaign. He threw for over 4,000 yards and accounted for a total of 35 touchdowns (including a record 14 rushing touchdowns by a quarterback).

Newton’s arrival rekindled the career of Steve Smith, who was on the trading block this time a year ago and now has a new contract. The Panthers also traded their 3rd round pick in the 2011 draft to the Chicago Bears in order for them to acquire tight end Greg Olsen.

This off-season, they went to the free agent market to acquire running back Mike Tolbert from the San Diego Chargers. Their offensive backfield now appears loaded with DeAngelo Williams, Jonathon Stewart, and Tolbert.

They are solid along the offensive line, especially at left tackle, center and at right tackle, as Jeff Otah continues to rehab from injuries sustained last season.

Most of all, the Panthers appear to have struck gold in picking Cam Newton, who has looked every bit like the franchise player the Panthers were hoping he’d be.

What they need now is to have the same type of success in the draft on the defensive side of the ball.

Carolina’s primary needs heading into the 2012 NFL Draft are, in order: defensive tackle, defensive end (pass rusher), and cornerback. In order of need and who may be available to them in the first round, I have listed what the Carolina brass may have to consider when the draft kicks off Thursday Night, April 27th (8pm EST):


Fletcher Cox

Fletcher Cox is widely regarded as the top defensive tackle available in the 2012 NFL draft.

The 6-4, 306 pound former Mississippi State Bulldog showed impressive athleticism at his pro-day and at the NFL Scouting Combine. His mobility was just as impressive on tape as he showed a desire to be dominant at times against top competition from the SEC.

Carolina would be smart to grab Cox if he is still on the board.


Dontari Poe

Dontari Poe is a bit of an enigma.

At 6-4, 346 pounds, Poe certainly looks the part of a premier NFL defensive lineman, but something seems to be missing. He absolutely tore up the Scouting Combine with a sub-5.0 forty time (4.98 seconds) and by bench pressing 225 pounds a total of 44 times. But after watching tape of Poe while playing at the University of Memphis, the results don’t match his physical attributes.

Poe may be worth the gamble, and he represents a player at the top of the Panthers “need” list, but is also a “buyer-beware” type of talent. With Hall-of-Fame type of raw talent, the Panthers may be willing to select Poe especially if a team like the Rams or Jaguars select Fletcher Cox prior to their pick.

Talented defensive tackles such as Cox and Poe do not grow on trees or fall to the later rounds very often.


Quinten Coples

Coples is a player who compares favorably to Dontari Poe in the fact that scouts cannot seem to agree on when he should be selected in the first round.

Some say that at 6-6, 284 pounds, and with the ability to run the 40 yard dash in under 4.8 seconds, Coples has top-ten talent. Others point out that while being very athletic and a skilled pass rusher, he takes too many plays off and doesn’t always give his all.

One comparison that I did not agree with was when a scout recently compared Coples’ potential to that of Julius Peppers. One has to remember that Peppers combines even better athleticism than does Coples (4.64 forty time coming out of North Carolina) and has more consistently proven to give maximum effort to get to the quarterback.

In my opinion, Carolina would be better served selecting a Fletcher Cox or Dontari Poe in the first round and then following that selection up with a defensive end such as Marshall’s Vinny Curry in the second round.


Dre Kirkpatrick

While Morris Claiborne is widely regarded as the top cornerback prospect, it must also be assumed that he will be off the board prior to the Panthers pick at number 9.

Dre Kirkpatrick was an All-America performer while playing on one of the best college defenses of all time in the Alabama Crimson Tide. The tape reveals that he is also the most physical cornerback in this year’s draft.

Against the run, he has shown a knack for avoiding offensive guards that are pulling on a sweep, in order to get to the ballcarrier before he can turn the corner. Versus the pass, he has shown the ability to play physical at the line of scrimmage but also capable of turning to run with any receiver.

The one slight knock on Kirkpatrick is that he does not possess “elite” speed (posting 4.49 – 4.51 forty times at the Combine). However, at 6-2, 196 pounds, Kirkpatrick fits the bill to become a top NFL cornerback.

He is my favorite cornerback in this year’s draft as he combines good coverage skills with a willingness to become physical with both ballcarriers and receivers, alike.

Stephon Gilmore

Stephon Gilmore has been a good prospect for the past two college football seasons. He also is considered a “fast riser” in the 2012 offseason (post Combine), along with names such as Dontari Poe and Ryan Tannehill. Like both Claiborne and Kirkpatrick, Gilmore has an excellent combination of size, speed, and the skills to cover the best receivers in the tough SEC.

Although Gilmore has a chance to be selected among the top ten players in this year’s draft, I do not consider him a better prospect than Dre Kirkpatrick. I say this because he does not offer the physicality that Kirkpatrick brings to the table.

I do not mean that Gilmore is not deserving to be mentioned with the athletes at the top of this year’s draft. Rather, I feel the Panthers could get a better player and more value (additional picks), by trading down a few spots in the first round and then selecting Dre Kirkpatrick, instead.



The Panthers fill a big need with a good player and one who represents the “safer” pick.

But my pick for the Panthers would be Poe.

I do not regard Dontari Poe as this year’s Mike Mamula. Rather, I consider him a player on a defensive team (University of Memphis) that was not very talented. The value of a defensive/nose tackle cannot always be measured by statistics. The ability of a defensive tackle to command constant double-teams, while offering the occasion “splash” play, can lift a defense by freeing up other players, thus, making those around him, better.

If drafted by the right team, with a good coaching staff, Poe will be a perennial All-Pro.

Now it’s your turn:

Who should the Carolina Panthers select at #9:

View Results

Loading ... Loading ...


To see the rest of the posts in this series check out:

For the Full NFL Draft Schedule and Coverage Times: NFL Draft Schedule


  1. Hmm it appears like your blog ate my first comment (it was super long) so I guess I’ll just sum it up what I submitted and say, I’m thoroughly enjoying your blog. I as well am an aspiring blog blogger but I’m still new to the whole thing. Do you have any tips for inexperienced blog writers? I’d definitely appreciate it.

  2. IlUqjj This is one awesome blog.Really looking forward to read more. Really Cool.

  3. Hey there, I think your website might be having
    browser compatibility issues. When I look at your website in Ie, it looks fine
    but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping.
    I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, awesome blog!

  4. Hi there very nice web site!! Man .. Excellent .. Superb
    .. I’ll bookmark your website and take the feeds also?
    I am happy to search out a lot of helpful information right
    here in the publish, we’d like work out more strategies in this
    regard, thank you for sharing. . . . . .

  5. I savor, cause I discovered just what I used to be taking
    a look for. You have ended my four day long hunt!
    God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye

  6. Today, I went to the beach front with my kids. I found a sea shell and gave it to my 4 year old daughter
    and said “You can hear the ocean if you put this to your ear.” She placed the
    shell to her ear and screamed. There was a hermit crab inside and
    it pinched her ear. She never wants to go back!
    LoL I know this is totally off topic but I had to tell someone!

  7. Hi there! Do you know if they make any plugins to assist with SEO?
    I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not seeing very good results.
    If you know of any please share. Thanks!

  8. I do not know if it’s just me or if everyone else encountering
    issues with your site. It appears like some of the text on your content
    are running off the screen. Can someone else please provide feedback and let me know if this is happening to them as well?
    This might be a issue with my internet browser because I’ve had
    this happen previously. Kudos

  9. I have learn several just right stuff here. Definitely worth bookmarking for revisiting.
    I wonder how much attempt you set to create this kind of great
    informative site.

  10. I constantly emailed this weblog post page to all
    my associates, as if like to read it afterward my links will too.

  11. Attractive component of content. I simply stumbled upon your website and
    in accession capital to claim that I acquire actually enjoyed account your blog posts.
    Anyway I will be subscribing in your augment or even I success you access persistently rapidly.

  12. Hello there, You’ve done an incredible job. I’ll definitely digg it and
    personally suggest to my friends. I am confident
    they will be benefited from this site.

  13. It’s hard to come by experienced people about this subject, however, you sound like you know what you’re talking about!

  14. Hello Dear, are you in fact visiting this web site on a regular basis, if so after that you will definitely obtain pleasant knowledge.

  15. Thank you for the good writeup. It in reality was actually a amusement account
    it. Look advanced to far added agreeable from you! Incidentally, how can we communicate?

  16. Link exchange is nothing else except it is simply placing the other person’s webpage link on your page at suitable place and other
    person will also do same for you.

  17. I simply want to tell you that I am just all new to blogging and site-building and definitely liked this blog site. Very likely I’m going to bookmark your site . You certainly have terrific article content. Kudos for revealing your web site.

  18. ackSkO This is a topic that as close to my heart Cheers! Exactly where are your contact details though?

  19. Very neat blog post.Thanks Again. Want more.

  20. It as exhausting to search out educated people on this matter, but you sound like you know what you are speaking about! Thanks

  21. It as not that I want to copy your internet site, but I really like the pattern. Could you let me know which style are you using? Or was it especially designed?

  22. Major thanks for the article.Really thank you! Really Great.

  23. Thanks for sharing, this is a fantastic post.Really looking forward to read more. Cool.

  24. Lancel soldes ??????30????????????????5??????????????? | ????????

  25. wow, awesome blog post.Much thanks again. Really Cool.

  26. I cannot thank you enough for the article post.Really thank you! Cool.

  27. This is one awesome blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Cool.

  28. Awesome article.Much thanks again. Keep writing.

  29. Enjoyed every bit of your blog article. Really Cool.

  30. Hey, thanks for the blog. Cool.

  31. Thanks again for the post.Really thank you! Awesome.

  32. Thanks, I ave been looking for information about this topic for ages and yours is the best I have located so far.

  33. Great blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Really Cool.

  34. I really liked your article.Thanks Again. Awesome.

  35. Muchos Gracias for your blog article.Much thanks again. Much obliged.

  36. Really informative article. Really Cool.

  37. Really enjoyed this article.Really thank you! Will read on…

  38. There may be noticeably a bundle to know about this. I assume you made certain nice factors in options also.

  39. I really liked your blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Great.

  40. I value the article post.Thanks Again. Want more.

  41. Thank you for your blog post.Really looking forward to read more. Really Cool.

  42. Major thanks for the post.Really thank you! Will read on…

  43. Im obliged for the blog post.

  44. A round of applause for your blog post.Much thanks again. Cool.

  45. This web site certainly has all the info I needed concerning this subject and didn at know who to ask.

  46. This awesome blog is really entertaining and besides diverting. I have chosen many helpful things out of this amazing blog. I ad love to return again and again. Thanks a bunch!

  47. Thank you for your blog article.Really thank you!

  48. Since we are on the topic of pinging, this is yet another

  49. Just to let you know your web page looks a little bit unusual in Safari on my notebook with Linux.

  50. It as not that I want to replicate your website, but I really like the pattern. Could you tell me which theme are you using? Or was it tailor made?

  51. I really liked your article post.Really looking forward to read more. Keep writing.

  52. I think this is a real great article.Really thank you! Want more.

  53. Muchos Gracias for your blog article.Much thanks again. Much obliged.

  54. Touche. Outstanding arguments. Keep up the great work.

  55. Muchos Gracias for your blog article.Really thank you! Want more.

  56. I really enjoy the blog article.Thanks Again. Great.

  57. A big thank you for your blog article.Really thank you!

  58. Im thankful for the article post.Really looking forward to read more. Cool.

  59. I appreciate you sharing this article post.Really looking forward to read more. Want more.

  60. I really enjoy the blog.Really looking forward to read more. Really Great.

  61. Thanks so much for the post.Thanks Again. Want more.

  62. Loving the weblog.. thanks! So pleased to possess located this submit.. Truly appreciate the posting you made available.. Take pleasure in the admission you delivered..

  63. Looking forward to reading more. Great article.Thanks Again. Will read on

  64. Very informative article.Much thanks again. Really Great.

  65. Thanks a lot for the article.Much thanks again. Fantastic.

  66. I really liked your article.Much thanks again. Really Cool.

  67. Thanks-a-mundo for the article post.Really looking forward to read more. Cool.

  68. wow, awesome article post.Thanks Again. Keep writing. see sex gifs

  69. This actually answered my downside, thank you!

  70. wow, awesome article post.Much thanks again. Will read on

  71. Great blog.Thanks Again. Will read on…

  72. Wow, awesome blog format! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging look easy. The whole look of your web site is fantastic, let alone the content material!

  73. I value the post.Really looking forward to read more. Cool.

  74. Im thankful for the post.Really thank you! Really Great.

  75. Very good blog post. Awesome.

  76. wow, awesome blog article. Cool.

  77. Really informative article post.Really thank you! Great.

  78. seo zen software review Does everyone like blogspot or is there a better way to go?

  79. Thanks for sharing, this is a fantastic article.Really looking forward to read more.

  80. Major thanks for the blog post.Thanks Again. Keep writing.

  81. Thanks a lot for the article.Really looking forward to read more.

  82. Very neat blog post.Really looking forward to read more.

  83. It’а†s actually a great and useful piece of information. I am glad that you shared this useful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thank you for sharing.

  84. Really appreciate you sharing this blog article.Really thank you!

  85. Pretty! This was a really wonderful article. Thanks for providing this info.

  86. I loved your blog post.Thanks Again. Want more.

  87. Looking around I like to look in various places on the online world, often I will just go to Stumble Upon and read and check stuff out

  88. You made some clear points there. I did a search on the subject and found most people will agree with your website.

  89. Tarologie gratuite immediate divination en ligne

  90. You made some good points there. I did a search on the issue and found most individuals will consent with your blog.

  91. More people need to read this and understand this aspect of the story. I cant believe you are not more popular.

  92. It is really a nice and helpful piece of information. I am glad that you shared this useful information with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.

  93. Appreciate you sharing, great blog post.Really thank you! Fantastic.

  94. Thank you ever so for you blog.Really thank you! Keep writing.

  95. That as some inspirational stuff. Never knew that opinions might be this varied. Thanks for all the enthusiasm to supply such helpful information here.

  96. Lovely blog! I am loving it!! Will be back later to read some more. I am taking your feeds also

  97. I was really confused, and this answered all my questions.

  98. Keep up the excellent piece of work, I read few posts on this web site and I think that your web site is really interesting and contains circles of good information.

  99. wow, awesome blog.Much thanks again. Much obliged.

  100. Major thanks for the article.Really thank you!

  101. There is apparently a bunch to identify about this. I assume you made various good points in features also.

  102. I was recommended this blog by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my difficulty. You are wonderful! Thanks!

  103. woh I am glad to find this website through google.

  104. wow, awesome article post.Much thanks again.

  105. that could be the finish of this article. Right here you

  106. I value the post.Really thank you! Really Great.

  107. Very good blog post. I definitely love this website. Thanks!

  108. You made some really good points there. I looked on the net for more info about the issue and found most individuals will go along with your views on this website.

  109. Lovely website! I am loving it!! Will come back again. I am bookmarking your feeds also

  110. I view something really special in this web site.

  111. Pretty! This has been a really wonderful article. Thank you for supplying this information.

Speak Your Mind