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Draft review: What analysts are saying

Posted May 13, 2014

Every NFL general manager will advise that a draft class can't be judged until at least two or three years have passed.

Thus, hurried draft grades are meaningless.

Still, draft analysts hand them out annually, and fans are curious to see them.

Below are grades the Panthers have received for their 2014 rookie class.

Keep in mind, the 2012 Seattle Seahawks rookie class received an "F" from one analyst days after the draft concluded. Quarterback Russell Wilson was a part of that class, and he reminded everyone of that grade on Twitter after winning Super Bowl XLVIII.

Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN.com
Grade: C

Kiper considers Kelvin Benjamin a "tantalizing physical talent," and drafting the Florida State wide receiver filled an obvious need. But he questions Benjamin's ability to separate from defenders and assimilate to the NFL quickly. Kiper called third-round pick Trai Turner a "favorite of mine as a guard prospect" but questions Carolina's offensive tackle situation.  

Chris Burke and Doug Farrar, SI.com
Grade: A-minus

Burke and Farrar love the value picks made by Carolina. They consider defensive end Kony Ealy in the second round a "steal" based on his first-round, pre-draft grade. They heap more praise on the third-round choice Turner, calling him "a true mauler who fits the Panthers' power offense perfectly."

Bucky Brooks, NFL.com
Grade: C-plus

Brooks applauded the Benjmain selection, saying the massive receiver has "game-changing potential as a big-bodied touchdown-maker with exceptional ball skills." He called the Ealy selection in the second round the most surprising pick in the NFC South due to Carolina's depth at defensive end. But he added that Ealy has "immense potential." Brooks said he's intrigued by the day three additions in the secondary and concluded by saying, "(Dave) Gettleman couldn't address all of the team's biggest needs during the draft, but he snatched up a handful of athletic talents with upside."

Pete Prisco, CBSSports.com
Grade: D

Prisco isn't a fan the Benjamin or Ealy selections and says the Panthers had other needs. "They needed to pick an offensive tackle and they didn't," he wrote.

Rob Rang, Sports Xchange
Grade: C-minus

Rang considered Benjamin a "reach" in the first round, and he questions Ealy's consistency. Rang likes the rest of the Panthers' selections, specifically Turner – "an athletic interior lineman with future starting ability" – and fourth-round pick Tre Boston, who he calls a "big hitter." Rang adds that fifth-round choice Bene' Benwikere is "instinctive and quick to the ball but may not be a future starter in the NFL."

Vinnie Iyer, Sporting News
Grade: B-minus

Iyer downgrades the Panthers for not selecting an offensive tackle, but he likes Benjamin as a "big target" for quarterback Cam Newton and Ealy as a defensive end that "adds to their pass-rushing prowess."