Mocking the Panthers 9.0

With the 25th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Carolina Panthers select…a quality football player who can help the team.

Anticipation for the first round of the draft on April 30 is building, and everyone has an opinion on what the Panthers should do. Though mock drafts are even a less exact science than the actual draft, they can help paint a picture of what Carolina can do at No. 25.

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Dan Kadar at SBNation.com compiled data from 20 mock drafts to see which players were most often associated with each team's first-round pick, then offered a first-round mock draft based on the results. There was some massaging necessary because eight teams – including the Panthers – had a tie for their most-targeted players, and because 11 players were listed as the favorite or co-favorite for more than one draft slot.

Here's what Kadar's analysis said about the Panthers, though the data can be used in other ways as well.

25. D.J. Humphries, OT, Florida

With Andrus Peat gone (at No. 21 to Cincinnati), this choice came down to Humphries and Ereck Flowers of Miami. Both are talented players and would be good, necessary picks for the Panthers. But looking beyond offensive tackle, we see safety Landon Collins, running back Melvin Gordon and defensive end Preston Smith. When most are considering a lineman for Carolina, those positions should also be something to consider.

20 percent OT Andrus Peat
20 percent OT D.J. Humphries
20 percent OT Ereck Flowers
15 percent OT T.J. Clemmings
10 percent S Landon Collins
5 percent OT La'el Collins
5 percent RB Melvin Gordon
5 percent DE Preston Smith

If the Panthers decide to take an offensive lineman in the first round – as 80 percent of the mock drafters predict - Kadar's collected data suggests that one of the top five at the position may well still be there. It's a fairly safe assumption that one particular offensive lineman, Iowa's Brandon Scherff, will be off the board by the time the Panthers pick, but all bets are off beyond that. Six other offensive linemen – the five on the Panthers' list above as well as Cameron Irving – are commonly discussed as first-round picks. The collective wisdom of the 20 mocks have four teams ahead of the Panthers taking an offensive lineman, a scenario that would leave three of those seven common first-round names still in play at No. 25.

Surprisingly none of these 20 mockers project a wide receiver (mainly because 16 forecast an offensive lineman) to Carolina in the first round. Nevertheless, it is a position worth considering. Expect Amari Cooper and Kevin White to be gone for sure, but the majority of the other receivers most commonly associated with the first round – DeVante Parker, Breshad Perriman and Jaelen Strong – could still be available based on the consensus mock.

It's a similar story in the secondary, where Michigan State cornerback Trae Wayans is expected to be gone before No. 25 but where at least two of the following – safety Landon Collins and cornerbacks Jalen Collins, Kevin Johnson and Marcus Peters – could well still be available.

No mock drafters truly know what is going to happen, but the consensus is that there are nearly 20 offensive linemen, wide receivers and defensive backs under consideration as first-round picks. Realistically, about half of that group will still be on the board when the Panthers pick.

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