With the ninth pick in the 2012 MHR Community Mock Draft, the Carolina Panthers Select:
Fletcher Cox, Defensive Tackle, Mississippi State
Panthers GM: Oregon Crush
GM Explanation: Without going into too much detail, here’s how bad the Carolina Panthers defense was in 2011: 27th in the league in points allowed, 28th in yards allowed, 24th in passing yards allowed per-game, and 25th in rushing yards per-game. Pretty much an all-around turd sandwich. I had to make a point of that because I’ve been hearing rumblings of offensive players getting picked at this spot and I just don’t see it. No, this team needs talent on defense, and in a major way.
Now that Ron Rivera is a Panther, I can say I think he’s a good coach. The stats above don’t necessarily jive with that notion, but none-the-less, I think he can get it done in Carolina. Anyone familiar with him from his days in San Diego (it means wales vagina, look it up) knows he ran a 3-4 defense. Anyone familiar with the 3-4 defense knows that you have to have two things to make the 3-4 work: a gigantic fatass at nose-tackle that can fill up the lanes with his enormous blubber-body and consistently draw double-teams with brute strength, and you need a 7’2" 285 pound linebacker that runs a 4.5 40 and comes at a full sprint off the edge, preferably screaming like a maniac, to punish opposing quarterbacks as if there were a bounty on their head (I’m looking at you Gregg). The two players that fit the mold best for those two positions are, respectively: Dontari Poe - NT and Melvin Ingram - DE/LB. Thing is, ol’ Ron stayed with the 4-3 last year in Carolina because that’s what he thought his players were best suited for (Josh McD, you should make note of this). These two guys are both popular picks for the Panthers, I guess because people think Ron wants to go back to a 3-4. Well, I don’t think it’s wise to reach for a player just to precipitate a scheme change. So I’ll pass on Poe and Ingram and go for the best defensive lineman you can get at this point, and possibly in the entire draft, Fletcher Cox.
Commissioner's analysis: This has become quite a popular selection for the Panthers in recent weeks, and it's one that makes sense. I thought that Michael Brockers was the clear-cut best defensive tackle in this draft, but that opinion seems to be changing by the day. The Panthers here are getting a guy who has a lot of upside as a pass rusher at the defensive tackle position but he's also going to make a lot of plays in the backfield and hurt the other team's running game. If they can't put together a competent lineup of defensive tackles between this pick and last year's selections of Terrell McClain and Sione Fua, they have bigger issues at hand. I think Carolina could go a number of directions with this pick, and defensive tackle is a good way to go.
1. Indianapolis Colts: Andrew Luck, QB, Stanford
2. Washington Redskins: Robert Griffin III, QB, Baylor
3. Minnesota Vikings: Trent Richardson, RB, Alabama
4. Cleveland Browns: Justin Blackmon, WR, Oklahoma State
5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Morris Claiborne, CB, LSU
6. St. Louis Rams: Matt Kalil, OT, USC
7. Jacksonville Jaguars: Quinton Coples, DE, North Carolina
8. Miami Dolphins: David DeCastro, OG, Stanford
9. Carolina Panthers: Fletcher Cox, DT, Mississippi State
On the clock...Buffalo Bills (LiteUpThatHalo)