Back-to-back impressive posts today, this one from none other than maryrose for the Carolina Panthers at #13. I hate to keep repeating myself, but when I suggested we all provide some background information about team needs and the players we selected, I had no idea you guys would step up like this. As we head towards the middle and end of the first round, the blue-chip offensive line talent continues to come off the board. On the clock: the Chicago Bears and Chicago Steeler.
Carolina Panthers: Chris Williams, OT, Vanderbilt
The Carolina Panthers need help at many positions and will be tempted by the many players who could fill that wish-list at Pick #13.
For starters, quarterback Jake Delhomme is coming off a serious injury and had been on shaky ground before that. Meanwhile David Carr is already gone, and Matt Moore is still unproven. Curiously, Matt Ryan is still on the board, making us wonder if he is this year's Brady "Please-Don't-Let-Me-Fall-To 22" Quinn. John Fox, however, is simply not ready to give up on Delhomme even though the temptation to draft Ryan might gnaw at him. The back-up/future quarterback guy will have to wait a few rounds.
The Panthers also need to help fix a defensive line that ranked last in the NFC in sacks and has lost two starters from last year. The Panthers had major trouble rushing the quarterback last year, so a complimentary pass-rush threat to Julius Peppers was yet another tease to be the first-round target for the embattled John Fox and his club. I came oh-so-close to pulling the trigger here with one of the stud defensive ends that was still lurking, but ended up on the other side of the ball.
Safety is another position that could be targeted here. Deke Cooper did a decent job filling in last season, but he's not going to scare many offensive coordinators. Besides, he's a free agent so there's no assurance he'll be back. A young ball-hawking, play-making free safety as an upgrade over Cooper would start immediately.
The offensive line is in the midst of overhaul, and there is a sure-fire answer that is too tempting to pass at #13. Justin Hartwig left Tobacco Land for the Steel City so that last year's second-round selection, Ryan Kalil, could move into the starting center position this year. With another starter, guard Mike Wahle, leaving for Seattle, the Panthers need a familiar face to play next to and help Kalil.
Interestingly, both Carolina tackles, Travelle Wharton and Jordan Gross, were free agents this past offseason and both re-signed. However, it is clear now that Wharton is better suited for guard and will be help Kalil on the left side. Thus, the missing piece is a new left tackle. Jordan Gross belongs on the right side. Enter Chris Williams, an outstanding prospect who would be a perfect fit for Carolina's zone blocking scheme.
Chris Williams has outstanding size at 6-6, 315 and runs an impressively-quick 5.07 for a man his size. His strong suit is superior athleticism backed up with outstanding footwork. Despite manning the demanding left tackle position, he consistently received winning blocking grades over the last two seasons, as he allowed just two quarterback sacks over the course of his last 1,558 snaps. Williams has registered 181 knockdowns with 21 touchdown-resulting blocks while averaging 84.9% blocking consistency over the last two seasons as Vanderbilt's full-time starter at left tackle.
Williams is technically sound and will work in any style of offense, because he is physical and works pretty well in space. He needs work and will sometimes play soft, but when he's on, he's very good. He has all the attributes and the talent to be a first day starter in the NFL. Moreover, he displayed some fire during Senior Bowl week by engaging in a fight with, of all people, nose tackle Red Bryant, during a practice. There was nothing soft about that.
This one-time student athlete of the month
at Vanderbilt has more of a mean streak
than one might guess.
#1 - Miami Dolphins, Darren Mcfadden
#2 - St. Louis Rams, Chris Long
#3 - Atlanta Falcons, Sedrick Ellis
#4 - Oakland Raiders, Vernon Gholston
#5 - Kansas City Chiefs, Jake Long
#6 - New York Jets, Glen Dorsey
#7 - New England Patriots, Dominique Rodger-Cromartie
#8 - Baltimore Ravens, Jerod Mayo
#9 - Cincinnati Bengals, Keith Rivers
#10 - New Orleans Saints, Aqib Talib
#11 - Buffalo Bills, Malcom Kelly
#12 - Denver Broncos, Ryan Clady