No Day Two selections
Imagine going 7-9, drafting two players (one a huge reach) at the position group you’ve spent more than a quarter of your salary cap on, and then having to rely on Day 3 picks to fill out the glaring holes in your defense. Yikes.
Round 2, Pick 37 – OT Greg Little, Ole Miss
Round 3, Pick 101 – QB Will Grier, West Virginia
Greg Little was easily the best Tackle left on the board after Jawaan Taylor was selected just the pick before. The Panthers are trying to keep Cam clean as much as possible and adding to the young talent up front will help with that. Little has great size at 6’5″ and 310 pounds with 35 1/4″ arms. Played three years for Ole Miss, a starter for basically two and a half seasons. Cam saw a huge decline last year after he was hurt and Carolina would like to protect against that as much as possible. So much in fact that they used their third round selection to take the best QB left on the board in Will Grier.Grier is a little older than your usual draft prospect at 24 years old. He lost most of a year in 2015 to PED violation before transferring from Florida to West Virginia and sitting out another year for the usual transfer rules. He then went on to light it up at West Virginia throwing 71 touchdowns (81 over his career including Florida). Just last seaosn he put up 37 touchdowns to 8 interceptions.
If the Panthers need to move on from Cam Newton at any point soon. They’ve got a young and athletic QB with good mobility to take over the offense. In front of him, they’ve also begun to lay the foundation to keep him upright and protected as they transition takes place. One thing about Grier though is his competitive nature. He won’t sit around and wait, he’ll continue to push. That’s a great attitude to have coming into the league.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Round 2, Pick 39 – CB Sean Bunting, Central Michigan
Round 3, Pick 94 – CB Jamel Dean, Clemson
Round 3, Pick 100 – S Mike Edwards, Kentucky
After selecting two Cornerbacks and a Safety in last year’s class, the Bucs continue their defensive overhaul having yet to select a player on the offensive side of the ball. so far. However, they get a few good ones in Bunting, Dean, and Edwards. Bunting and Dean were put on to my radar by Brandon Olsen of WholeNineSports.com as possible trade up targets in the middle rounds for the Saints, but they ended up in Tampa Bat. Bunting is a strong and quick corner who works well out on the boundary but isn’t a strong tackler. Dean is long wit NFL size and mad speed with a 4.3 40 at the combine. He’s got great explosiveness as well with a 41″ vertical and 130″ broad jump. However, his biggest struggles came against effective route runners. Like Michael Thomas. At pick 100, the Bucs wisely went Safety, a big need for the team in an attempt to revamp their secondary.
NFL.com listed Tampa’s draft plan ahead of the first round as an opportunity to get Todd Bowles the pieces he needs on defense. These three selections along with Devin White are a good execution of the approach. Last year’s selections of M.J. Stewart and Carlton Davis will some new faces to compete with for spots in that secondary which will only push the young crop to develop quicker.
Follow Ross on Twitter @RossJacksonASC