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Mocking the Panthers 4.0

Posted Mar 26, 2014

To date, "Mocking the Panthers" has focused on the first round of the draft – and for good reason. The first round is the most important of the draft, and it goes without saying that every mock draft includes the first round.

Some mockers, however, have taken things a step further, delving into the second round.

While the Panthers favor a best-available-player approach to the draft, mock drafts almost universally make picks based on a combination of draft grades and team needs. So it's no surprise that most two-round mocks feature some combination of tackle and wide receiver for the Panthers.

Here's a look at a few.

Matthew Fairborn, SBNation.com
Virginia T Morgan Moses and Mississippi WR Donte Moncrief

"Offensive tackle and wide receiver are the two most obvious needs for the Panthers entering the 2014 NFL Draft," Fairborn writes. "They attempt to fill one in the first round, and the other in the second round."

While Moses has steadily moved into the realm of first-round consideration, Moncrief is among the lesser known of the dozen or so receivers that draft forecasters believe could be selected in the first two rounds. The 6-2, 221-pounder possesses a rare combination of size and speed along with trustworthy hands. Other second-round receivers popular among prognosticators as Panthers' picks include Jordan Matthews of Vanderbilt and Paul Richardson of Colorado.

Charlie Campbell, WalterFootball.com
Oregon State WR Brandin Cooks and Tennessee T Ju'Wuan James

With Cooks currently the most popular first-round choice for the Panthers among mockers, a look into the second round brings (mostly) new names into the discussion. Campbell points out that the 6-6, 311-pound James "moves well for his size and has the strength to open holes in the ground game." James has plenty of experience, with 49 starts, though they all came at right tackle.

The retirement of tackle Jordan Gross leaves a hole on the left side, one that general manager Dave Gettleman said at this week's NFL Annual Meeting could possibly be filled by right tackle Byron Bell. The WalterFootball.com staff's latest mock draft raises another interesting possibility: Alabama tackle Cyrus Kouandjia in the second round.

Both Mel Kiper, Jr. of ESPN.com and Bucky Brooks of NFL.com have Kouandjia as Carolina's first-round pick, but could he make it to the second round? It might be a stretch – much like Matthew Mocal of DraftBreakdown.com now forecasting Michigan tackle Taylor Lewan to fall to the Panthers at No. 28 overall – but who knows?

Nick Edlund, DraftSeason.com
Florida State WR Kelvin Benjamin and Nevada T Joel Bitonio

While Benjamin is right behind Cooks as far as being a popular first-round pick among mockers, reviews are mixed on Bitonio. Edlund believes the Panthers would be "relieved" to find the ultra-competitive and sneaky-athletic Bitonio still sitting there at No. 60 overall, but others feel like the three-year starting left tackle is better built to play guard in the NFL and could even last to the draft's third and final day.