While it’s hard to know how much of a role Fitterer played in these decision, he comes to Carolina from a Seattle organization that really loves to trade down, especially in the first round, and he made it clear that this is certainly going to play a part in his approach in Carolina. While David Tepper is clearly very keen on the Panthers continuing to add at quarterback, Fitterer also said a major part of his job is being the guy to say no – if there isn’t a quarterback the Panthers feel comfortable with at 8, then trading back and adding picks should be in the cards.
It is also worth noting that Rhule made it clear that adding picks was something the Panthers hoped to do in the 2020 draft before they ended up selecting Derrick Brown, so this is certainly something that is on the minds of those in the building outside of just Fitterer.
For the Dolphins, they have done much of the hard work in terms of adding core talent and now need a couple of star players to help elevate them, especially at receiver. While they have the third overall pick to take whoever they view as the top receiver on the board, with six picks in the top 115 selections and four in the top 50, they could well look to group some of these together in order to get a second shot at one of the draft’s elite offensive weapons, and being able to keep a top 40 pick while doing so would make that all the more palatable.
18th Overall Selection: Rashawn Slater, OL (Northwestern)
Photo Credit: NUSports.com
While quarterback is clearly the main focus of Fitterer going into the offseason, number two seems to be the offensive line, and with everybody except for Cheap Matt Paradis Jersey, Cheap Greg Little Jersey and Cheap Dennis Daley Jersey hitting free agency, the need up front is certainly a pressing one.
“I think the way I want to build the team is one, obviously quarterback, and two, both sides of the line. Really, settling the offensive line,” commented the new GM at his opening press conference.
Opinion is still somewhat divided about whether Slater will be better suited to tackle or guard at the NFL level, but the Panthers have a pretty significant need at both, especially if Cheap Taylor Moton Jersey isn’t re-signed. If Slater does eventually move inside to guard then the value of an elite guard is much more palatable at pick 18 than at pick 8.
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This wouldn’t be the sexiest pick, but a technically proficient and athletic offensive lineman (especially on the interior) is a useful block to build around.
39th Overall Selection: Creed Humphrey, iOL (Oklahoma)
Dec 28, 2019; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Oklahoma Sooners center Creed Humphrey (56) prepares to hike the ball during the 2019 Peach Bowl college football playoff semifinal game against the LSU Tigers at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports
Having taken arguably the best guard in the draft class with their first pick, the Panthers get a chance to double down here by selecting probably the best center in the draft class.
In the long term, this gives the Panthers a replacement for Paradis who will be a 33 year-old free agent next offseason and in combination with Slater, gives them two elite building blocks on the interior that will not only help Cheap Christian McCaffrey Jersey continue to be one of the most dominant rushers in the NFL, but also help keep whoever ends up at quarterback going forward clean. In the short term, Humphrey may well end up playing at guard alongside Paradis.
Another pick that likely won’t sell a ton of jerseys, but the effect of a great OL really cannot be overstated.
50th Overall Selection: Chazz Surratt, LB (North Carolina)
The Panthers need at linebacker has been helped by the emergence of Cheap Jermaine Carter Jersey as a solid short-term option, but with Carter being somewhat limited in coverage against better athletes and entering the final year of his contract, the Panthers could do with a player to develop behind Carter who can then step into a starting role down the road. While Surratt has got a lot of attention for his ability as a blitzer (12.5 sacks over the past two season), arguably more impressive is his coverage upside with the converted quarterback flashing range, movement skills and a good reading of the game.
While he might take a little while to adjust to the speed of the NFL game and to continue to refine his game, he has great upside and would be good value on day two.
73rd Overall Selection: Levi Onwuzurike, DT (Washington)
Washington defenders Levi Onwuzurike, right, and Tevis Bartlett team up to drop ASU running back Emo Benjamin after a 5-yard gain to the 48 in the third quarter. (Dean Rutz / The Seattle Times)
Speaking to the media following the conclusion of the season, Rhule made it clear that one of the priorities was improving their pass rush, which with KK Short out really struggled outside of Cheap Brian Burns Jersey. With Cheap Yetur Gross-Matos Jersey likely starting opposite Burns in 2021 after showing promising flashes as a rookie, the focus of this is likely to fall on finding a long-term interior partner for Cheap Derrick Brown Jersey.
While Onwuzurike could do with continued improvement to his pad level, he is a twitchy athlete with surprising power for his size and flashes of high-level hand usage and could become one of the better interior pass rushers around with a little technical polish.