The true measure of the Carolina Panthers' 2012 draft class is still at least a couple of years away, but in the world of instant gratification, the Panthers have to feel gratified.
Virtually across the board, the Panthers received high marks for the group of seven they selected over three days at the NFL Draft. The only consistent criticism came from draft observers who believed the Panthers should have selected a defensive tackle, a perceived area of need by outsiders but not by those inside the football offices.
"To me, the tackle position isn't really a concern," Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said when asked about draft needs at the end of last season. "We had a number of guys step up and play very well for us."
Here's a look at what the experts thought about the players the Panthers picked individually as well as their draft overall.
--ESPN analyst and two-time All-Pro linebacker Tedy Bruschi loved the first-round selection of linebacker
--Peter King of SI.com called guard
ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay seconded that by labeling Silatolu as the most impactful player in the Panthers' draft: "I think he is a phenomenally talented offensive guard. Should be a starter Day One."
--Michael Lombardi of the NFL Network described defensive end
--Pete Priscoe, senior NFL columnist for CBSSports.com, labeled wide receiver
--McShay said cornerback
--Vinnie Iyer of Sporting News, while categorizing the Panthers among "this year's playoff contenders", gave their draft an A-: "Kuechly and Silatolu bring much-needed physical nastiness to each side of the ball, and Adams was a nice gift for
--Priscoe gave the Panthers a B : "General manager Marty Hurney had a heck of a draft. It started with linebacker Luke Kuechly in the first round and it continued all the way through it. I love Adams and Norman on the final day."
--Lombardi also gave it a B : "I think it's a really nice, complete draft."
--ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper gave the Panthers a B- while adding a bold prediction about how quickly the draft class will help: "I'll go with Carolina as the team that wins the division."
--Will Brinson, senior blogger for CBSSports.com, didn't offer letter grades but included the Panthers among five "winners" in the draft: "They took a big step addressing their rush defense by adding Luke Kuechly, they found Cam Newton a sneaky weapon in the fourth round in Joe Adams, and Amini Silatolu could end up ultimately replacing