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 Carolina Panthers Draft Review

Team Needs: OT DE CB





Rd 1. 31 Vernon Butler DT Louisiana Tech

Rd 2. 62 James Bradberry CB Samford

Rd 3. 77 Daryl Worley CB West Virginia

Rd 5. 141 Zach Sanchez CB Oklahoma

Rd 7. 238 Beau Sandlin TE Montana State


Carolina shocked the league when they took the franchise tag off of cornerback Josh Norman in the run up to the draft. It also opened up a much more pressing need at the position, which Carolina was clearly prepared for. Vernon Butler was a luxury at defensive tackle for the Panthers but for a team that relies on dominating defensive tackles he was a very good pick. He isn’t likely to earn a starting job any time soon but he should make sure that the drop off in play is kept to a minimum in the defensive tackle rotation. James Bradberry is a very talented kid who had a lot of buzz surrounding him. He is also very raw. It’s difficult to see him playing much as a rookie, although he has a far higher upside than any other cornerback on the Panthers roster. Daryl Worley is another big bodies cornerback that has a nice upside. Unlike Bradberry he should be capable of playing from day one in nickel and dime situations. Zach Sanchez is limited compared to the other two corners taken by the Panthers but he has experience, vision and better than average ball skills. Beau Sandlin has good length and is another raw athlete. Being tutored by Greg Olsen should help his game develop fully.


  1. After cutting Josh Norman the Panthers had little choice but to draft heavy at cornerback. GM Dave Gettleman claims that the team was able to take the three cornerbacks without sacrificing value, but don’t believe that. Each player is good, and none were terrible value, but this draft is as good a proof as there is that teams do draft for need - even if they think they are drafting for value.

  2. Good teams that select at the end of round 1 typically trade down since the difference in talent isn’t great from 25-40. When they have a chance to get a player they covet, regardless of position, they do so. While Butler is clearly a value pick for the team he’s also the kind of pick that good teams make. Building from a  strength for the future.

  3. The Panthers got a couple of very raw athletes. Bradberry, Sandlin, and to a lesser extent Worley all need to develop further before they can start, but again, good teams have both the time and patience to develop such players. Zach Sanchez is the most pro-ready of the Panthers cornerbacks but he will likely never move beyond nickel back, especially if both Bradberry and Worley fully develop.

Grade: C

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