Over the course of May, both Joe Marino and I will be assessing each team’s specific Draft class. The objective here is to identify value: where it was best and where it was worst. NDT Premium members will soon be able to access the comprehensive breakdowns of draft classes as well, which looks at the pick by pick breakdown of value across our respective 2017 NFL Draft boards. Today I look at the Carolina Panthers.
The full list of their 2017 NFL Draft class is below:
|40||RB||Curtis Samuel||Ohio State|
|64||OT||Taylor Moton||Western Michigan|
|77||EDGE||Daeshon Hall||Texas A&M|
|152||CB||Corn Elder||Miami FL|
|192||EDGE||Alex Armah||West Georgia|
|233||K||Harrison Butker||Georgia Tech|
Best Value: RB Christian McCaffrey, Stanford
McCaffrey was “only” an appropriate value off my draft board. He was scored as my 10th rated player on the board and I think Carolina did well to not be scared off by his position. The value of McCaffrey to the Panthers cannot be understated: he’s a totally different element, a three down player and has the explosive big play ability to be a true difference maker.
Not only that, his presence is going to take pressure off Cam Newton to be such a large presence in the running game himself. McCaffrey can do it all and do it well, so getting a player of his caliber at 8, especially when it’s married with the need for more skill players on the depth chart, this pick was a home run selection.
Worst Value: OT Taylor Moton, Western Michigan
Moton was a player that I was left wanting more from every time I watched his film. He’s played both inside and outside, but his pass protection skills were regularly compromised by his footwork and he was left folding at the waist.
There’s needed functional strength here for Moton to be an asset at either Guard or Tackle in the long run but I do think he’s a technical project and a player that is going to need development. I don’t think he’s necessarily a liability but he’s going to get handled by NFL pass rushers if he’s consistently left in space. I felt Moton would have been an appropriate value in the early part of Day 3, but him as a second round selection is a bit too rich for my taste.
Could Surprise: CB Corn Elder, Miami FL
Elder is a slot/zone dynamo. As one of the best corners in the country down the stretch as a senior, Elder really established himself as a player that has the short area acceleration and route recognition skills to be an asset.
It’s important to note that Elder is a slot only in Carolina: they like length and size (Bradberry and Worley are perfect examples) on the boundary. But playing Elder inside will allow him to accentuate his short area agility and put him in man coverage against slot receivers, where his size issues should be mitigated.