Carolina Panthers NFL Draft Recap/Grade – 2018
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Carolina Panthers Draft Picks (2018)
Key Positional Needs Entering Draft
- Wide Receiver
- Corner Back
- Offensive Linemen
- Defensive End
I gotta say the Carolina Panthers did a damn good job in this draft with the talent they got filling needs without coming close to reaching and letting the draft come to them. They selected a much needed pure wide receiver in D.J. Moore with their first pick. Then turning around and adding a hell of a CB in Donte Jackson who has speed to burn that can return kicks and punts. Considered by most to be a nickel/slot guy due to his size and the style in which he plays, Jackson will be right at home here to be ale to sit back in a zone and react to where the ball is going. Duplicating that same type of player in the 3rd they scooped up S Rashaan Gaulden who seems to find the ball and has an attitude and swag that the Panthers secondary has been missing since Josh Norman. With an eye on the future with the 1st pick in the 4th round, the Carolina Panthers snatched up TE Ian Thomas, Greg Olsen’s eventual replacement who possesses the same type of athleticism and route running ability. But like Olsen, Thomas will have to come into his own on the blocking side of things. Also in the 4th they get EDGE Marquis Haynes who never became the player most thought he would’ve been, but the Panthers seem to know how to push the right buttons on DL/LB to maximize their potential/skill-set. Haynes is in good hands!!! With their next two picks (161 and 234 respectively) ILB was the choice, Jeramaine Carter and Andre Smith who are mirror images of each other; chase and run players who look to be instinctual, especially Carter. With the suspension of Thomas Davis for a few games in there base set they will need someone to step up immediately. With their last pick the Carolina Panthers selected DT Kendrick Norton who is a big, strong man but like lots of players from Miami (FL) left a lot of meat on the bone. However, like Haynes, Norton is in good hands and he will flourish.
I actually have two favorite picks here and both were in my Top 5 rankings at their respective positions within my final rankings. Wide receiver D. J. Moore and cornerback Donte Jackson. Moore is a guy who will fit in perfectly with what Carolina needs, which is a receiver who has a wide catch radius not so much because of his size but because of his ability to go up and get the ball in any direction. Some say he needs to work on his route running due to the fact that he allows defenders to close the gap on him after he creates the initial separation by doing a little too much but I believe he is actually comfortable with all kinds of noise and traffic with the ball headed his way. We are familiar with Cam Newton’s accuracy issues and all Cam needs to do is get it in the vicinity for Moore and he can do the rest, this includes his ability to run after the catch. Dynamic in the open field not like an explosive speedy wide out but much more like a running back shedding would be tackles.
Fantasy Football Implications
D.J. Moore is a guy who you are going to want on your squad come draft day! I do believe he will get it done in all aspects of the position that gets you points from catches, yards and TDs. Due to that open field prowess he can go the distance at anytime. His jump ball/contested catch ability has been compared to that of DeAndre “Nuk” Hopkins, a true red-zone threat, only standing 6’0 he can at will become a 6’5 guy. Moore is going to open things up for Christian McCaffrey to get his one on ones more consistently either out of the backfield or from the slot. Not sure Cam will ever do that 45 and 10 thing again but his 28 and 16 TD/INT ratio in 2017 should improve with the likes of Moore in town.