Carolina Panthers: Top 10 Prospects
Jonathan Stewart (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Jonathan Stewart (Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Scout.com NFL Draft Analyst
Posted Jun 13, 2010
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Scout.com's Chris Steuber continues the top 10 prospects series and profiles the Carolina Panthers. In this series, an NFL prospect is classified as a player entering their third year in the NFL or under 25 years of age. Find out who the Panthers top 10 prospects are entering the 2010 season.

Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
RB
5-10
235
3
23

A first round pick by the Carolina Panthers two years ago, Jonathan Stewart has been the model of consistency as DeAngelo Williams' backup. Playing in all 32 games since being drafted, Stewart has started just three games, but has rushed for 1,969 yards on 405 yards (4.9 YPC) and 20 touchdowns. There's no question that Stewart would be a featured back on any other team in the league, but working behind Williams has made him even more dangerous and difficult to defend.

Drafted by Carolina in the 1st Round (2008).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
OT
6-6
330
3
24

After taking Stewart in the first round of the '08 draft, the Panthers had their sights set on another highly touted player and decided to trade back into the opening frame with the Philadelphia Eagles to select former Pittsburgh offensive tackle Jeff Otah. Otah's presence was felt immediately as a rookie, and he started 12 games at right tackle. This past season, he started 13 games, but over the last two years, he's been hampered by injuries. If Otah can stay healthy for a full year he has All-Pro ability, but his size and physical style of play could hurt his durability over time.

Drafted by Carolina in the 1st Round (2008).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
QB
6-3
222
R
22

A three-year starter at Notre Dame, Jimmy Clausen ascended in 2009 and put together a year where he completed 68-percent of his passes for 3,722 yards, 28 touchdowns and just four interceptions. But, his success as a junior wasn't enough for him to be selected in the first round of the 2010 draft. Concerns about Clausen's intangibles outweighed the talent he possesses, and fortunately for the Panthers, who were in need of a young signal caller to groom, he fell into their lap. It's unlikely that Clausen will begin the year as the starting quarterback with Matt Moore slated to be the starter. But, if Moore struggles, it won't be long until the reigns are handed to Clausen.

Drafted by Carolina in the 2nd Round (2010).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
DE
6-1
256
2
22

A first round value in the '09 draft, Everette Brown fell to the second round after questions regarding his size hurt his stock. And, as he continued to slide down draft boards, the Panthers traded their '10 first round pick to move into the second round last year to secure the undersized pass rusher. As a rookie, Brown played in 15 games, started one and recorded 22 tackles and 2.5 sacks. The Panthers allowed Julius Peppers to leave and sign with the Chicago Bears this offseason, which means that Brown will play a more significant role on defense this season and will be expected to be the team's third down pass rusher. There's also a chance that he will win a starting job out of training camp.

Drafted by Carolina in the 2nd Round (2009).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
DE
6-2
276
4
23

Charles Johnson is entering his fourth year in the league, but still qualifies as a prospect as he's only 24 years old. Johnson has yet to become a consistent starter since being drafted in the third round of the 2007 NFL Draft. But, with Peppers no longer in Carolina, Johnson appears to be the favorite to fill the vacancy. Over the last two years, playing in 29 games and making just two starts, Johnson has recorded 10 sacks in a situational role. He has the all-around game that will be successful in a starting role and could be ready to break out.

Drafted by Carolina in the 3rd Round (2007).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
S
6-1
198
2
25

A second round pick in '09, Sherrod Martin had a solid four-year career at Troy, and played a key role on defense and special teams for the Panthers last year. He played in all 16 games, started five and finished the year with 23 tackles and three interceptions; two of his three interceptions were recorded in his first career start against the Arizona Cardinals during Week 8. Martin is expected to be the starting free safety this season.

Drafted by Carolina in the 2nd Round (2009).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
WR
6-4
219
4
23

Just like Johnson, Dwayne Jarrett is entering his fourth year at the age of 24, a year where he has an opportunity to finally live up to his promise as a starter. Jarrett had a standout career at USC, but has had difficulty getting on the field with veterans Steve Smith and Mushin Muhammad in front of him on the depth chart. The recent retirement of Muhammad puts Jarrett in a good spot to emerge as an offensive threat and warrant his standing as the seventh rated prospect in the Panthers organization.

Drafted by Carolina in the 2nd Round (2007).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
OG
6-4
308
3
24

Spending most of his rookie season in '08 on the inactive list, Mackenzy Bernadeau developed into a starter last season. A former seventh round pick, Bernadeau played in all 16 games and started seven. An athletic interior presence, Bernadeau will be the starter at right guard this season.

Drafted by Carolina in the 7th Round (2008).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
WR
6-2
211
R
23

Brandon LaFell had a tremendous career at LSU, but for as good as he was he never amassed a 1,000-yard season. LaFell had a solid senior season for the Tigers catching 57 passes for 792 yards and 11 touchdowns. But after he ran a poor time in the 40, LaFell's stock slipped and landed him in the third round. The Panthers are likely to give Jarrett every opportunity to succeed, but if LaFell has a strong preseason, he could become a starter this season.

Drafted by Carolina in the 3rd Round (2010).
Pos
Ht
Wt
Exp
Age
LB
6-2
231
3
24

At Penn State, Dan Connor was recognized as one of the nation's complete linebackers. He didn't have great size, but his instincts and tackling ability were elite. The Panthers selected Connor in the third round two years ago and had high hopes for the former Nittany Lions All-American. He had a solid preseason in '08, but suffered a season-ending ACL tear during Week 3 of his rookie campaign. That injury put Connor's future in limbo with the Panthers, but he returned last season and showed that he was 100-percent, playing in all 16 games. Carolina decided to release veterans Na'il Diggs and Landon Johnson, due to the young talent they have at the linebacker position. And with LB Thomas Davis recently tearing his ACL, Connor is expected to be a starter this season.

Drafted by Carolina in the 3rd Round (2008).


For more on the Panthers, check out Panther Insider.


A member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America, Chris Steuber has provided his analysis of the NFL and NFL Draft prospects on the web and on the radio since 1999. Steuber’s features are published across the Scout.com network and on FoxSports.com. If you wish to contact Chris Steuber, email him at: csteuber@scout.com. You can also now follow Chris Steuber on Twitter.



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