2013 NFL Draft - Carolina Panthers

Posted Apr 29, 2013

Carolina Panthers - NFC South, 2013 Draft Selections & Prospects

Carolina Panthers

2013 NFL Draft Team Analysis - AFC
EAST Buffalo | Miami | New England | NY Jets
WEST Denver | Kansas City |  Oakland | San Diego
NORTH Baltimore | Cincinnati  Cleveland | Pittsburgh
SOUTH Houston | Indy | Jacksonville | Tennessee

2013 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    
- 2012 Carolina Draft Breakdown
- 2011 Carolina Draft Breakdown
- 2010 Carolina Draft Breakdown  

The Draft Was ... outstanding. The Panthers only had five picks and they didn't whiff on any of them. The defensive interior needed to be secured, and Carolina nailed it getting Utah's Star Lotulelei at the 14 and getting a gift in Purdue's Kawann Short with the 44th overall selection. Iowa State linebacker A.J. Klein might be limited, but he could turn out to be a nice swing reserve taken in the fifth round. Oregon speed back Kenjon Barner was an outstanding pick in the sixth round who could quickly find a role as a third down all-around playmaker.
Best Value Pick: RB Kenjon Barner, Oregon in the 6th round
Worst Value Pick: OG Edmund Kugbila, Valdosta State in the 4th round
They Should've ... moved down. Kugbila isn't actually a bad value pick, but the Panthers got better value on every other selection. There were several other guards on the board including Alabama's Barrett Jones – who could also be used at center – and James Madison's Earl Watford, who both went later on in the fourth. Considering the Panthers went with Klein later, going after any one of a number of good linebackers who slid – like Khaseem Greene of Rutgers – would've worked.
Division Draft Ranking: 1
Conference Draft Ranking: 5


DT Star Lotulelei, Utah
6-3, 311
Overall Pick No. 14 CFN Position Rank: 1

CFN Analysis: Great value for a team that knows how to use defensive tackles. He's a No. 1 overall pick talent taken on the cheap in the middle of the first round, and now that he's been cleared medically, this was a fantastic value selection. He might not be a top-shelf interior pass rusher for the Panthers, but he doesn't need to hang out in the backfield to be what this defense needs.

If it wasn't for a concern about his heart – literally, his heart and not his desire to play – he'd be a sure-thing top three overall pick if not No. 1 overall. While he's not going to be a Haloti Ngata-like Hall of Fame-like rock in the middle, he's a great anchor who not only holds up well against the run, but also can get off the ball in a hurry and get into the backfield. Keeping his weight and conditioning in check will be a must, and he'll have to try to keep the pounds off to keep his quickness, but he's ridiculously strong and won't have any problems holding down the interior.

Does he have the fire and the punch to be great? He doesn't kick it in full-tilt for a full sixty minutes, and he was way too inconsistent considering he was often the best player on the field. He has the interior quickness, but he didn't generate enough big hits on the quarterback. He'll have moments when he destroys a line, and there will be other times when he's not heard from. Even so, he's a Pro Bowl talent who'll be a cornerstone of a defense is the medical problems aren't too much to overcome.
CFN Projection: First Round


DT Kawann Short, Purdue 6-3, 299
Overall Pick No. 44 CFN Position Rank: 8
Productive on a bad defense, he could've big-timed it and shut it down in a dead year, but he didn't. Keyed on by Big Ten offensive lines games after game, he still came through and still fought the good fight as a team leader. Quick off the ball, he's a nice athlete with good pop and nice explosion on third downs when he gets to lock in and fire into the backfield. With nice size and good athletic skills, he now needs to get in better shape. Too fleshy, even after dumping around 25 pounds, the strength is there but he needs to be able to go full-bore for a full four quarters. He'll disappear for long stretches and needs get his wind up so he can last. There are concerns about his body and his full-time fire, but with the right coaching staff and in the right system that takes some of the heat off, there's Pro Bowl potential.
CFN Projection: Second Round  


OG Edmung Kugbila 6-4, 317
Overall Pick No. 108 CFN Position Rank: Not Ranked


OLB A.J. Klein, Iowa State 6-1, 250
Overall Pick No. 148 CFN Position Rank: 19
A tackling machine who grew into a legendary player for Iowa State, he was always in on every play and turned into one of the Big 12's top producers over the last few seasons. Always around the ball, he always came up with big numbers in the big games against the better teams. A no-nonsense leader, he always gets the job done no matter what. While the stats were great, he made way too many plays down the field and he'll struggle to hold up against the bigger blockers. He'll have to change up his style a bit and will have to read and react rather than attack, but he doesn't have the elite skills to be a special playmaker. Even so, he can do a little bit of everything and become a decent starter.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round


RB Kenjon Barner, Oregon 5-9, 196
Overall Pick No. 182 CFN Position Rank: 13
Very quick and very versatile, he's able to make defenders look ridiculous in space by breaking them down and catching them leaning. Creative in space, he's great at making people miss and coming up with the big play when he's in the clear. Even though he's extremely strong for his size, he's not a power back in any way and he'll go down with a slight breeze. He's not a No. 1 back, but he could be a devastating toy to play with for about 5-to-10 touches a game.
CFN Projection: Fourth Round