“Why did the Panthers take this Charles Johnson kid when they have Peppers and Rucker?” “Luke Kuechly is good, but we have Jon Beason,” and finally, “We have a good center in Justin Hartwig, why draft Kalil?”. These are the words that came out of Panthers fans’ mouths in the past.
While the selection of Kony Ealy did take me back for a moment, I soon understood just how valuable taking one of the best defensive ends in the draft is. Gettleman has said from the beginning that he always goes with best player available and he clearly continued that trend last night.
Ealy is very talented but is still learning how to use all of his skills. He possesses both speed and strength but has yet to learn how to use both and convert his speed into power. Early also has a lanky body that he needs to use to his advantage at the next level.
On tape, Ealy is inconsistent but when he starts to live up to his potential, it is amazing how fast he can reach the quarterback and use his length to close holes on the running back. I believe his inconsistencies are one of the main reason he slid to the 60th pick, but there’s nothing can’t be coached to such a natural talent.
I do not see any reason why Ealy cannot harness his athletic ability and turn into a starting caliber defensive end in the NFL. Many will still whine that we already have Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy, but with Johnson’s decline in play and Hardy’s contract situation, I see no reason why this doesn’t turn into one of the smartest draft picks in Panthers history. Worst case scenario we have three starting caliber ends - is that really a bad thing?
Many analysts bash a prospects who chose to forego their senior year of college unless they are a first round lock. The same is and will be done with guard Trai Turner out of LSU. Turner is a big and very athletic guard with tons of potential, but could have used another year in college to become a first rounder next year.
This is a guard that I fell in love with when I watch him play. His overall game is perfect, as he can power block for a runner and turn light on his feet for pass protection in a flash. The only bad thing I could find on this guy is that he does become inconsistent with his balance and struggles with body control at times.
Turner probably should have stayed for his final season in order to iron out his own faults. As I see it now though I am having a hard time finding a reason to say Trai Turner will struggle in the NFL outside of adjusting to the speed at first. He will need to work on his weight and make sure he gets into better shape, but were not talking about Jeff Otah out of shape. Trai Turner’s balance issues and technique will also be improved once he became leaner and more athletic at the next level.
Watching Turner’s tape against Texas A&M really showed off how fast and powerful he was. He was able to make so many holes for running back Jeremy Hill and get up through the backfield quicker than many of the top prospects at his position.
Overall, I am very happy with this pick and expect Turner to start at right guard this season. I can see a bright future and possibly multiple pro bowl selections with Turner. Getting him in the third round was a great value selection and showed once again that Gettleman took the best player available, and this time it just happened to be at a position of major need.