A Star is Born

star-lotuleleiI’m a diehard Carolina Panthers fan, I have been since the day they were announced as an expansion franchise so many years ago. Over all those years I’ve seen some moments in the draft that I absolutely loved (DeAngelo Williams), moments I absolutely hated (Mike Seidman, because we skipped over Jason Witten), and moments that had me a bit confused (Luke Kuechly), but I always pay attention. This year we went in with a new GM and I had some pretty solid expectations out of this year’s draft class. The primary needs were cornerback, defensive tackle, and in my opinion a more solid defensive end.

My first pick was always Shariff Floyd from Florida, as a Florida State fan I paid close attention to him and thought he would be the best available. That problem is that I expected him to go in the top five, which would mean that Carolina would need something different at fourteen. Some people were torn between Sheldon Richardson and Star Lotulelei but I actually thought a better pick would have been Xavier Rhodes from Florida State since we really don’t have a ton of talent in the defensive back area currently. As the round rolled on people kept passing on Floyd, with the Jets taking Richardson just before we got up to pick.

While I wanted Carolina to take Shariff Floyd, being the best tackle in this year’s class, I am not entirely upset about the prospect of having Lotulelei beside Dwan Edwards. Initially the pick really upset me, but looking at it a little more closely this is a good move overall. We now have two powerful defensive tackles to keep pressure off our solid linebacker corps. If we can pick up some coverage the defense could be very stout and a force to be reckoned with over time. Being regarded as the best defensive tackle in the Pac-12 doesn’t hurt, but I am starting to warm to this prospect and I am actually very hopeful that we’ll have someone who can help get our defense back to where it was in the past.

While the chances of us having a third straight Rookie of the Year award are pretty slim now, not because the player isn’t good but because a defensive tackle has to be amazing to pull that off. I think we’re moving in the right direction finally. We could still use defensive back help, and a wide receiver opposite Steve Smith, so we’ll see how the rest of the draft plays out. Personally I hope we find some way to pick up Tyrann Mathieu and Margus Hunt before the end. The upside of being bad to mediocre the last couple years has hurt, but it’s also got us Cam Newton, Luke Kuechly, and now a monster defensive tackle. Let’s hope in the next couple years that we wind up picking a lot closer to number thirty-two.

{ Originally published at: http://voices.yahoo.com/a-star-born-12112907.html?cat=14 }


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