At first, I was not a fan of Carolina trading away its future first-round pick for offensive tackle Jeff Otah. In hindsight, it was a great decision. Otah played immediately and is far better value than anything Carolina could have gotten with the 28th pick in the 2009 NFL Draft. Carolina doesn't have a selection until the second round, and only a few needs on their team, thanks to great drafting.
Let's get to their post-first round draft range:
Defensive Tackle: More depth could be had at tackle on the defensive line. The ends on this team are really solid, but at times not much pressure is generated up the middle. Fili Moala of USC could be the trick. He is 6-4, 295 pounds, and has solid athletic ability. His problem at USC was production, which is why he is not a first-round pick. When he is active, he is unstoppable. Moala would fit in well and could potentially start down the road.
Auburn's Sen'Derrick Marks has the talent to be drafted in the second or third round as well. Marks' problem at Auburn was not playing with consistency, but the athleticism and strength is there.
Ron Brace out of Boston College has the size John Fox loves up front. Brace is a one trick pony as a run-stuffer, but teams would be really forced to run away from Brace as he would be dominant stopping the run on a four-man front.
Linebacker: If the talent is on the board for the Panthers, they could opt for a linebacker. There isn't a big need at this time on the Panthers depth chart with Thomas Davis at WILL and Jon Beason at MIKE. However, Na'il Diggs only had 54 tackles last season and was not highly productive. Marcus Freeman from Ohio State could be just what the doctor ordered. He has good size at 6-1, 239 pounds, and good range, but he isn't always the biggest play-maker. Still, he has upside and can play multiple positions.
I am a big fan of Tyrone McKenzie out of South Florida. He is very athletic and very comfortable in zone. In the mid-rounds, they also might target Kaluka Maiava from USC.
Defensive End: Any time you can find a gem in terms of a pass rusher, it's a great pick since they are so high in demand. John Fox just might like Paul Kruger enough to take him in the second round even though this team doesn't necessarily need a starter right now. Maybe they feel like they do not want to pay Julius Peppers $19-20 million in 2010 if they were to franchise tag him again. Lawrence Sidbury and Kyle Moore might also get consideration in the third or fourth rounds.
Tight End: Traditionally, the Panthers do not go after vertical passing options at the tight end position in the NFL Draft. Therefore, I think a great blocker like Richard Quinn, Anthony Hill or John Phillips could be options in the fourth to sixth rounds.