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Carolina Panthers' 2012 NFL Draft Analysis

June 07, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 196

1st Round (#9) LB Luke Kuechly, Boston College

2rd Round (#40) OT/G Amini Silatolu, Midwestern State

4th Round (#103) DE Frank Alexander, Oklahoma

4th Round (#104) WR Joe Adams, Arkansas

5th Round (#143) CB Josh Norman, Coastal Carolina

6th Round (#207) P Brad Nortman, Wisconsin

7th Round (#216) FS D.J. Campbell, Cal

Analysis of Notable Selections:

Luke Kuechly: The Panthers allowed almost 27 points per game last season. The team has needs at every level of the defense, but especially in the front seven. Carolina passed on defensive lineman help for Luke Kuechly. The former Boston College star is one of the most instinctive linebackers in the draft in quite some time. Kuechly is terrific in pass coverage and is a tackling machine. He was as safe of a choice as any in the 2012 NFL draft. The Panthers lost Dan Connor via free agency. In addition, it is unlikely that Thomas Davis can be counted on after a 3rd ACL surgery on the same knee. Jon Beason is also returning from a torn Achilles tendon and may not be able to return to pre-injury form. The Panthers had a major need at linebacker and Luke Kuechly should develop into a terrific NFL player. Kuechly's exceptional dedication to the game also will enable him to eventually be one of the leaders of Carolina's defense.

Amini Silatolu: Carolina could have added a defensive tackle (Kendall Reyes, Jerel Worthy or Devon Still), but opted to improve their offensive line. Cam Newton has a big future, but the Panthers still want a balanced offense and run the ball with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart. Newton will be at his best throwing off of play-action and getting the ball downfield. The Midwestern State offensive lineman played against marginal competition, but looked like a man among boys. Larry Allen went to tiny Sonoma State and that did not stop him from dominating in the NFL. It would be wildly speculative to compare Silatolu to Larry Allen, but he is physically gifted and plays with a nasty demeanor. The Panthers absolutely needed better play at guard and Silatolu is a strong run blocker. The Panthers could have an extremely powerful run blocking line with the addition of Silatolu and a healthy Jeff Otah at right tackle. The Panthers likely made a wise decision in bolstering their offensive line with the addition of Silatolu.

Frank Alexander: Carolina has to strengthen their front four and traded a 6th round pick and a 2013 3rd round draft choice to San Francisco for their 4th round selection. The former Sooner kept getting better every year and developed into a solid defensive end by his senior year. Alexander does not have an explosive burst, but he is a good run defender and plays hard. However, he may not have been worth trading away a 3rd round pick in next year's draft. Carolina has not had much luck trading away future picks to move up in the current draft (remember the Everette Brown trade).

Joe Adams: Armanti Edwards has been a big disappointment as a punt returner and wide receiver. Carolina ranked 30th in punt return average last season and were poor overall on special teams. Joe Adams was a dynamic punt returner (4 touchdowns last season) at Arkansas due to his lightening quickness. Adams can also be an effective slot receiver and he is tough for his size (5' 10" and 180 lbs). The former Razorback was a good choice by the Panthers.

Josh Norman: The Panthers add a good-sized cornerback (6' and 196 lbs) who plays the ball well in the air. Norman was productive at Coastal Carolina, but he possesses average speed. Norman will have to become a student of the game and more disciplined to make-up for his lack of speed. Carolina passed on Juron Criner and the team still needs more receiver help for Steve Smith. Criner lacks speed, but he is very skilled at catching the ball in traffic to keep drives alive and score touchdowns.

2012 NFL Draft Grade: B

Bottom Line: Luke Kuechly is going to help the Panthers a lot on defense for many years. The team also stayed true to its identity of wanting to run the football by adding Amini Silatolu to the offensive line. Carolina was very poor on special teams last year and Joe Adams and a new punter should help improve this unit. The Panthers helped themselves in the 2012 NFL draft, but probably gave up too much to add Frank Alexander at defensive end.

http://www.profootballdraftnetwork.com provides extensive pre and post NFL draft analysis. The site features scouting reports, rankings, top values, biggest risks, interviews with college coaches and players and mock drafts.

Source: EzineArticles
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