Christian McCaffrey, running back out of Stanford.
I really wish the team would have a shot at picking LSU RB Leonard Fournette, but he will probably be gone by #8. So it's time for the Carolina Panthers to "diversify their portfolio" on offense and McCaffrey is the player in this draft that can help in that process.
McCaffrey can play running back, play in the slot as a receiver, and he can return kicks. All 3 areas the Panthers need help at TODAY.
The team could even work McCaffrey in the back field with Jonathan Stewart at the same time. Imagine McCaffery running the jet sweep out of the slot.
This would be the kind of weapon Cam Newton has never had since he put on a Carolina Panthers jersey. And after 6 seasons, it is time to get Cam a legitimate 1st round weapon.
Kelvin Benjamin was suppose to be that weapon, but he is yet to take that elite status jump. Can he? Sure he can and I hope he does because if KB and McCaffrey BOTH develop as elite weapons, this team could be set up for a VERY long time for big time success.
BUT and there is always a but...
When has Panthers general manager Dave Gettleman picked the guy most "experts" thought he should pick? And this is not a criticism of DG. It is a warning to fans that what you see on the surface may not be what DG will do.
One thing to remember about drafting, it is not about the immediate. It is also about the future.
Last year, he picked defensive tackle Vernon Butler when the DT position looked pretty solid with Kawann Short and Star Lotulelei. Who knows what the future holds for Star after KK signed his long term contract earlier this month. The Panthers may not have enough money now for Star so it may be time for the big man to move on after this season and at least the team now has Butler in the fold.
The year before that, DG picked linebacker Shaq Thompson when the team had Thomas Davis, Luke Kuechly, and AJ Klein all in the fold. AJ is gone to New Orleans now and the Panthers still have one of the best LB corps in the league because Shaq is here to fill that void.
Which brings us to the 2017 Draft and Gettleman may throw us all a curve as some good players at positions where the Panthers are strong may be available.
If quarterbacks Mitchell Trubisky and Deshaun Watson get picked before the Panthers, guys like safety Jamal Adams, safety Malik Hooker, defensive end Jonathan Allen, and defensive end Solomon Thomas could fall. And I wouldn't sleep on DG having interest in defensive end Derek Barnett or linebacker Reuben Foster.
"If a guy is sitting there that you know can help you win, don't worry about perception," said Gettleman at last week's pre draft media availability. "My philosophy is to get the best player."
In other words, it is no layup that the Panthers go RB at #8.
Which makes tomorrow night must see TV.
No matter what, the Panthers should get a great player that will help this team from day one.
BUT and this is my but, if #8 is a tight end I'm going to have a problem with that. We will cross that bridge IF it happens.