2011 NFL Draft - Carolina Panthers
Auburn QB Cam Newton
Auburn QB Cam Newton
Posted Apr 30, 2011

Carolina Panthers - NFC South, 2011 Draft Selections & Prospects

Carolina Panthers

2011 NFL Draft Analysis
1st Round (1-5) | 1st Round (6-10) | 1st Round (11-15) | 1st Round (16-20)
1st Round (21-25) | 1st Round (26-32) | 2nd Round | 3rd Round
4th Round | 5th Round | 6th Round | 7th Round | Top Free Agents

2011 NFL Draft Team Analysis - AFC
EAST Buffalo | Miami | New England | NY Jets
WEST Denver | Kansas CityOakland | San Diego
NORTH Baltimore | Cincinnati  Cleveland | Pittsburgh
SOUTH Houston | Indy | Jacksonville | Tennessee

2011 NFL Draft Team Analysis - NFC
EAST Dallas | NY Giants | Philadelphia | Washington
WEST Arizona | San Francisco | Seattle | St. Louis
NORTH Chicago | Detroit | Green Bay | Minnesota
SOUTH Atlanta | Carolina | New Orleans | Tampa Bay 

- 2010 Carolina Draft Breakdown

First Round  
QB Cam Newton, Auburn 6-5, 248 (Jr.)
Overall Pick No. 1    CFN Overall Ranking: 3

And away we go with the storyline of the draft, and possibly the 2011 season - at least after the labor problems are solved. Carolina rolls the dice and takes the special player with the special tools, and now the question will be whether or not the franchise will have the patience to live through the rough times. It would've been nice to have had the option of taking Andrew Luck here, but Newton has all the skills and all the potential to be tremendous, too. The difference is that it's going to take Newton a while to be productive, and he's going to have to learn to fight through the type of on-field adversity he never had to deal with last year. He doesn't have any receivers to throw to, and there's a reason Carolina is picking No. 1 overall, and while it would be hopeful to suggest that the first overall pick should make everyone else better right away, like Sam Bradford did for St. Louis last year, remember, Peyton Manning stunk it up as a rookie and one of the greatest rookie quarterbacks of all-time was Rick Mirer.

Carolina, get the running game going again. Revolve the offense around the backs, the Ron Rivera defense, and a conservative style that allows Newton to make the simple reads to get the ball out of his hands early. Let Newton make mistakes and accept that this is a pick for 2013. It'll be a fun two-year learning curve.

CFN Analysis: One of the most polarizing NFL draft prospect in years, he's the ultimate boom-or-bust pick. There are screaming, seemingly-obvious warning signs that will keep several teams from investing their hopes into, but his talent is so immense and his raw skills are so great that anyone who passes on him might be blowing off the next big thing.

The Heisman winner carried Auburn to the national title with a slippery running style and tremendous leadership and clutch play, but he also finished second n the nation in passing efficiency. With 30 touchdown passes, 1,473 rushing yards, and 20 scores on the ground, and with the national championship, he had the greatest single season of any quarterback in college football history.

He's huge. He's Daunte Culpepper, but bigger, strong, and even more athletic. While he can shake off pass rushers without a problem, he can also run around them when needed. Auburn didn't ask him to do anything crazy with the passing game, mainly using him to see-throw/make-throw, but coaches crowed that he would've been special in any passing system. The arm is there, the athleticism is peerless for a guy with his bulk, and despite what others might have you believe, he was a leader the rest of the Tigers rallied around.

The problem is 1) the entire act comes across as phony; 2) he only did it for one year and will need to take his lumps for a few seasons; and 3) he isn't exactly the most trustworthy of characters. Can he handle it when he stinks it up as a rookie and gets lustily booed? Can he handle failure after failure? No college quarterback has ever had to undergo the scrutiny he went through, yet he always compartmentalized well and came up with great performance after great performance. However, now he's outside of the bunker-down, kiss-butt Auburn bubble. While he needs tons of work on his mechanics, and there's a big Buyer Beware sign around his neck, but if someone is willing to be very, very patient, and if he's coddled, the upside is limitless.
CFN Projection:
Top Ten Overall 

Second Round    
DT Terrell McClain, South Florida 6-2, 297
Overall Pick No. 65 CFN Overall Ranking: 209

Undersized. He's not a top-motor guy and he gets way too sloppy, but for his size, he needs to be more of an interior pass rusher. It's a reach of a pick, but with linemen flying off the board, the Panthers can't be blamed if they're making a move to take the Bull here. This is around where he was supposed to go, but he could be a bit disappointing if he's being asked to be a true tackle; he'll be a 4-3 end.

CFN Analysis: The raw bulk isn't quite there compared to other good nose tackles, but McClain makes up for it with tremendous strength. Not just a stick-in-the-mud, he has just enough quickness to get into the backfield once in a while and he'll more than hold his own against the better blockers. The problem is his body. It would be nice if he was a bit bigger with more good weight, and he needs more time sculpting; he's not going to get better in the weight room considering he's one of the strongest tackles in the draft. Does he want to be a factor? He's not known as a fighter and he's not a jump-through-fire type of killer many might want. The tools are there to think he could be a solid starter, but he was just okay at USF and he has to work to translate his raw strength into more plays.
CFN Projection: Third Round

Third Round   
DT Sione Fua, Stanford 6-2, 308
Overall Pick No. 91 CFN Overall Ranking: 215

After taking Terrell McClain in the second round, head coach Ron Rivera is doubling down on defensive tackles by getting a run stopper to complement the quick McClain. The plan, as it looks now, was to not go with Marcell Dareus with the No. 1 pick, take Cam Newton, and then load up on defense whenever possible. The Panthers have prospects for the inside now, but neither one is a sure thing.

CFN Analysis: The definition of a mauler, he doesn't miss plays against the run and he doesn't get shoved around by anyone. With surprising quickness to go along with his toughness and fighting spirit, he'll be loved by a coaching staff and might only be scratching the surface on his talent. While he's strong enough hold his own, he can disappear for stretches and is too easily blocked. He'll show enough to be the last man on a roster … or the last man cut.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round
Fourth Round   
CB Brandon Hogan, West Virginia 5-10, 192
Overall Pick No. 98 CFN Overall Ranking: 128  
CFN Analysis: Very fast and with the raw wheels to hang around with any target, he has the athleticism and he has the strength, coming up with 19 reps on the bench. He cuts on a dime and has the right attitude of a No. 1 corner. He's always up for a challenge and is great at battling with the top targets. Now he has to learn how to use all his talents to be a better all-around player. Forget about stopping the run and he doesn't use his strength like he should against the stronger targets. While he doesn't have to serve any jail time after a DUI, there are still major question marks about his character. He could turn out to be a fantastic steal as long as he's used the right way and as long as he has the right coaching to maximize his talents.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round

Fifth Round    
WR Kealoha Pilares 6-0, 199
Overall Pick No. 132 CFN   Overall Ranking: Unranked

CFN Analysis: Worth a flier late in the draft, he's a good-sized target with great route running ability and great hands. He's a hard worker and a terrific try-hard type who'll do whatever is needed, but he can only be used as a short-range target. He's not fast, isn't going to make plays after the catch, and benfitted from playing in a pure passing attack. He has enough to stick on a roster as a part of a rotation, but he's not going to do anything special.
CFN Projection: Sixth Round

Sixth Round   
137. OLB Lawrence Wilson, Connecticut 6-1, 229 
Overall Pick No. 166 CFN Overall Ranking: 137

CFN Analysis: Way too small and build like a short safety, he doesn't have the look of an NFL linebacker and he isn't going to get any bigger. However, he's as tough as nails, he hits with anger, and he's a guided missile who blows up ball-carriers. A durable rock, he's always playing and always tackling with over 100 stops in three of his four seasons. He's going to be a part of a rotation, but he'll be a good producer who'll always give an honest day's work.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round  

Sixth Round
Overall Pick No. 203  CFN Overall Ranking: Unranked
C Zack Williams, Washington State  6-3, 309
Very big and versatile, he can be a guard or a center, and at worst he could be a very nice backup who does a little of everything for the interior. He's great for the ground game, and while he's not all that much of a mauler, and he's not an athlete, he's good enough to plug in and get by in an emergency.
CFN Projection: Free Agent

Seventh Round   
OT Lee Ziemba, Auburn 6-6, 317
Overall Pick No. 244 CFN Overall Ranking: 106

CFN Analysis: A huge recruit for Auburn, literally, he became the main man early for a line that eventually paved the way for a national title. He has a great frame with good length, and he's not afraid to get nasty and fight for every block on every play. Still relatively young, he not only more than held his own, but he's still maturing into his body type. While he's not going to be able to handle many NFL speed rushers and he's a right tackle only, he will eventually be a steady starter. He won't be special, but he'll be solid.
CFN Projection: Third Round