Carolina Panthers 2011 NFL Draft Review

Cam Newton was the first pick of the draft. He was chosen because the organization felt he would give the team an immediate impact presence. By drafting Newton, Carolina became the first team to select a quarterback as their first pick in two consecutive drafts. Jimmy Clausen was the first pick in 2010, but was a second round choice. New head coach Ron Rivera wants to build a physical attacking type defense for Carolina and in the Panthers’ two third round picks, he believes he found them. Terrell McClain and Sione Fua will help fill a gaping cavity up front, so the linebackers can make plays on or near the line of scrimmage. Cam Newton was a oneyear starter at Auburn and directed the team to a national championship. The previous year he led Blinn (TX) Junior College to a national title as well. He is confident and aggressive in his play as well as being big, strong, and athletic. He played in a run first spread, no huddle offensive scheme. He will need to learn all the nuances and fundamentals of the pro passing game – consistency, ability to anticipate windows in coverage, taking snaps from center, dropping back to the throwing point, decision making, accuracy, balance, and footwork in the pocket. He is a developmental quarterback with rare tools. Terrell McClain was a three-year starter who played inside tackle in a four man front. He’s a space eater who takes up blocks and pushes the pocket in the pass game. He draws double teams to free up linebackers to play downhill. McClain is a good athlete with good short area explosiveness. He plays with a good power base. He is competitive and works to the whistle. Sione Fua started 31 games at Stanford over the past three seasons. He is a blue collar competitor from snap to whistle. His long arms and big hands are an asset for the defensive tackle position. He plays with leverage, power, and quickness. Fua is explosive in his play and doesn’t stay blocked. He will battle to be a part of the front rotation. Brandon Hogan tore his anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the last regular season game against Rutgers. In his three seasons as a starter he recorded 171 tackles and intercepted 7 passes. Physical in run support, he is sudden to break up on a ball in front of him. He is a good tackler with good short area quickness and has the speed to run with vertical stretch receivers. Kealoha Pilares is a former running back who is fearless to cross the middle. Three months after he sprained a posterior cruciate ligament, he ran in the low 4.40 range. Pilares is all about speed and toughness. In his career he caught 209 passes for 2491 yards and 22 touchdowns. His senior year he caught 88 passes for 1306 yards and 15 touchdowns. He has good run after catch ability. Lawrence Wilson was the first pick in the sixth round. The four-year starter concluded his career with 449 tackles, 35 ½ tackles for loss, 9 ½ sacks, and 5 interceptions. He is a better than average athlete who is instinctive and quick. He finishes long pursuit but needs more bulk and overall strength to hold up physically on Sunday. Zack Williams is a versatile center/guard combination player. He started two years at Washington State after transferring from Glendale Community College. Williams is a knee bender who plays with body control and balance. Intense and mentally tough, he plays with attitude and aggression. He has good lateral quickness. Lee Ziemba started 52 games over four years at Auburn. Tall and angular build with long arms, he played left tackle but projects to the right side. He is a developmental tackle who needs more upper and lower body strength. A mauler type that has been durable, he comes off the ball hard in the running game. GRADE: AVERAGE.

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