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Carolina Panthers: 2017 NFL Combine Players to Watch

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NFL

Carolina Panthers Combine Focus Could Be Insightful

The Panthers are looking to rectify several issues to compete in the NFC South next season. The Panthers have the 8th overall pick and should be able to select an impact player in April. The 2017 NFL Combine is a golden opportunity for the Panthers to do just that.

Here are some players they should be looking at next week in Indianapolis:

Leonard Fournette – RB, LSU

The Dallas Cowboys made a bold selection in Ezekiel Elliott last year, despite claims that running backs cannot provide good value early in the first round. That move allowed the Cowboys to have a great season and keep their defense off the field.

The Panthers can make their own bold move selecting the most NFL ready running back: Leonard Fournette.

Fournette a 6’1″, 235 pound running back from LSU has breathtaking athleticism being built like a linebacker but has the speed of a receiver. The LSU star led the SEC in all-purpose yards as a true freshman (137.4 per game), which included 1,034 rushing yards and 625 yards on kickoff returns. As a sophomore, he was a consensus All American that included 22 rushing touchdowns.

Fournette has a rare combination of explosiveness and power which would be the perfect fit for Carolina’s smash-mouth running style.

Sidney Jones – CB, Washington

Not resigning Josh Norman last offseason caused the Panthers young, inexperienced secondary to be exposed. The Panthers had one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL, allowing over 4,200 yards. The Panthers have the 8th overall pick and can select the best corner in the draft.

Sidney Jones is 6’1″ lockdown corner from Washington. Jones is physical at the line of scrimmage and has the ability to jam receivers at the line. Corners that are able to get their hands on receivers at the line generally have success in the NFL.

He also possesses elite speed that allows him to close on throws anywhere near him and make open field tackles. Jones prioritizes the ball over his man, and attacks the catch point with slaps and rips. Jones has 9 career interceptions got a hand on 21.3 percent of balls thrown his way over the last two seasons.

If the Panthers select Sidney Jones, they are getting a player who can start from Day 1.

Jonathan Allen – DT, Alabama

The Panthers can use another dominant interior defensive lineman and Jonathan Allen is just that.  Jonathan Allen is a 6’3″, 291 pound defensive linemen who is athletic enough to play defensive end in a base defense. Allen also can rush from inside on sub packages.

The Crimson Tide star had a dominant 2016 season that included  69 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, and led the best defense in the nation with 10.5 sacks.

Allen came to Alabama as an outside linebacker out of high school, which is evident when he’s making plays in the open field. Allen possess a unique athletic ability, consistently pressured the quarterback that led to several sacks, and produced against the run and the pass.

If Allen is available, the Panthers are getting a Fletcher Cox-type talent that has Pro Bowl potential.