McShay has Carolina taking Clemson defensive end Da’Quan Bowers with the No. 1 overall pick. Kiper has the Panthers taking Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley. Although I believe defensive tackle is the bigger need, I could see the Panthers taking Bowers. He’s a local kid and an explosive player who could become a cornerstone of the defense.
But the thing that really jumped out at me about McShay’s draft is that he has Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert going No. 3 to Buffalo. Kiper had him going at No. 5 to Arizona.
We all know the Panthers gladly would have taken Andrew Luck at No. 1 if he had elected to enter the draft. He didn’t and there seems to be a perception that this draft is without a true franchise quarterback.
But if McShay and Kiper have Gabbert going so high, it’s a sign that some people are starting to think he can be a franchise quarterback. Carolina’s just getting its new coaching staff in place and, like every other team, really getting into the scouting process. We’ll see what the Panthers think of Gabbert as things move forward. But, even without Luck, they still might have a shot at a franchise quarterback.