Blogger mock: Richardson to Panthers

With the 14th pick in ESPN.com’s #bloggermock draft, I chose Missouri defensive tackle Sheldon Richardson for the Carolina Panthers.

The choice was easy. I also had my eye on safety Kenny Vaccaro, but I was pretty much locked in on Richardson from the start.

I wanted to do something that former general manager Marty Hurney hadn’t done in a long time. I wanted to use an early draft pick on a defensive tackle. Hurney’s failure to do that helped cost him his job as the Panthers struggled in the interior line.

They did find a bit of a hidden gem last year with Dwan Edwards, but he’s getting up in age and it’s time to think long term.

That’s why I took Richardson. The Panthers have very good defensive ends in Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy, who each reached double-digit sacks last season.

Adding Richardson should make life easier for Johnson and Hardy because offensive lines will have to devote more blocking to the interior. The Panthers still have needs at safety and cornerback, but they can address those later in the draft.