I received many e-mails and tweets about my 2013 NFL Mock Draft and the upcoming NFL Draft in general. To share the answers to the questions publicly, I decided to start up a mailbag column. Pass along your NFL draft questions and comments. I'll put together a mailbag periodically that answers questions/comments sent via email firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @draftcampbell.
From twitter @StefanosY (Stefanos Yowhannes)
"What do you think about Quinton Coples first game as a Jet?"
Coples had a fabulous preseason debut and looked like a stud defensive lineman. He registered a great stat line with five tackles, sack, forced fumble, tackle for a loss and batted-down pass. Those numbers were validated by Coples' actual play. He was excellent.
Coples was around the ball throughout the game and tough at the point of attack. He showed his strength and physicality by moving offensive linemen while his holding ground when runs came right at him. Coples' run defense was superb.
The rookie also did well as a pass-rusher. He had a nice sack and got penetration into the pocket on other pass plays. Even though Coples had a reputation for taking plays off in college, he showed a good motor and was consistent on a down-by-down basis against the Bengals. Overall, his performance was phenomenal first game for a much maligned first-rounder.
Obviously, the Jets took an injury risk in letting Coples play well into the second half. However, letting him get that much playing time will pay off in September and October. The increased reps has against NFL offensive linemen will expedite his learning process.
In general, I think teams may benefit by giving rookies more playing time in preseason games, but the teams are quite terrified of potential injuries. It is a tough decision to make, but, after one game, the Jets are looking good.
From Matt Cummings, Mechanicsville, Virginia
"The Penn State scandal is one of the largest sports stories in recent history; I have a few questions for you regarding this scandal. Do you think the Board of Trustees did the right thing in removing the Joe Paterno statue? Penn State received enormous sanctions because of this scandal, sanctions only surpassed by the "Death Penalty": do you think these sanctions were fair? Lastly, how do you think the Penn State football team will perform this season? Will the looming scandal drive the team to compete or will the team play poorly as a result of the inevitable scrutiny by the media and the public?"
The Penn State situation is such a tragedy for everybody involved, none more so than the victims of the abuse. This kind of abuse happens in athletics all over the country across different sports. Hopefully the Penn State scandal will serve as a catalyst to confront the problems rather than sweeping them under the rug. I'll run through each answer to your questions:
I do think they did the correct thing in removing the Paterno statue. The program needs to pay its debts and then move on from the past. Right now, having the Paterno statue on display would just serve as a constant reminder of the scandal.
I think the sanctions were generous toward Penn State. In my opinion, the death penalty was in order. This was way worse than college football players taking money from boosters or agents. The victims of Jerry Sandusky will have to deal with the assaults for the rest of their lives. Penn State is fortunate the penalties weren't worse like the death penalty or having the program shut down permanently.
I think the Nittany Lions are in for a season of 4-6 wins. The exodus of players hurts their talent level, and the nightmare of the scandal will be hanging over the program this year and for some years to come. It is going to take a long time to rebuild the program with the sanctions and stigma to overcome.
From Tim Porter, Seattle, Washington
"Which schools are you most looking forward to watching for this year's draft and possibly the 2014 NFL Draft?"
That's a good question. There are a number of teams that are high on my radar. Here my top dozen: USC, LSU, Texas, Alabama, Oklahoma, Georgia, Arkansas, Texas A&M, South Carolina, TCU, California and Wisconsin. All of those teams have multiple players who look like potential early-round picks for the 2013 NFL Draft. The first six to eight are especially loaded with NFL talent for the top of the draft.
There are other programs which are more under the radar that I'm extremely interested in seeing. They include Illinois, Stanford and North Carolina. All three of these programs have something in common. They each had a former head coach who recruited excellent talent in recent years. Ron Zook (Illinois), Jim Harbaugh (Stanford) and Butch Davis (North Carolina) brought a lot of talent into those programs.
All three programs currently have some clear NFL prospects who could be early-round picks. I also think these teams have the capacity for breakout players this season who nobody knows about right now. Each school could have some behind the scenes talent.
After all, nobody knew about Whitney Mercilus at this time last year, but by the end of the 2011 season, he led college football in sacks and forced fumbles. All three of those programs could have players like Mercilus who could take college football by storm this season.
As for the 2014 NFL Draft, I would say Clemson and Florida have a lot of young talent in their sophomores and juniors. I think the Gators' juniors look more like four-year players, but some prospects like safety Matt Elam or linebacker Jelani Jenkins could have big enough years to prompt them to enter the 2013 NFL Draft.
From Jerry Buchanan, Savannah, Georgia
"Charlie do you think Carolina will finally have a young receiver emerge to compliment (sic) Steve Smith?"
The Panthers certainly need one to step up and become a reliable producer in the NFL. Since Moose Muhammed hung it up, Carolina's offense has been lacking a true complement to Smith.
I reached out to some sources, and they said that Brandon LaFell is capable of doing that this season. They don't believe that he will be Muhammed in his prime, but that LaFell could generate some quality numbers this season. He has flashed at times, but the time is now for him to turn into a solid starter. If he doesn't get it done this year, receiver will be a big need for the Panthers next offseason.
Another player to keep an eye on is Louis Murphy. Carolina landed him in a trade with Oakland, and I think he is a better player than his numbers have illustrated to this point. Murphy has some potential with size and speed. I like him as a third receiver in the Panthers' offense.
Murphy also knows Cam Newton dating back to 2007 and 2008 when they were teammates at Florida. That past familiarity could help Murphy in getting his quarterback to target him when he gets in the game. I wouldn't expect Murphy to produce a massive season, but I think he could be a serviceable third receiver. This is an underrated move by general manager Marty Hurney that could pay off.
Over the next draft or two I think Carolina has to target a left tackle and a No. 1 receiver. The team clearly has the running backs, some interior offensive line talent and a franchise signal-caller. Smith and left tackle Jordan Gross can't play forever, so the Panthers have to land some talent at those positions in order to get the most out of Newton and company in their primes.