After spending their newly acquired pick at #43 overall, the Panthers looked toward the 59 pick anticipating a move in the secondary, picking Sherrod Martin, DB, from Troy.
The small-school prospect showed up at combine with above average numbers (4.50 40, a blazing 3.98 20 yard shuttle- 2nd best for the entire combine, not just DBs, and a 3-cone drill 2nd best at CB at 6.60), but also played very well at the Senior Bowl, in workouts, and had shown himself as a playmaker in college - he's not just a workout warrior.
As well, for good or bad, he's mature. He'll turn 25 during his rookie year, because of an injury redshirt year and a deferred enrollment to 2004. At Troy, he played both cornerback and safety, and excelled at both. With Carolina, Martin will likely start out as a nickel, fighting CJ Wilson for the role.
Many anticipated the team picking a defensive tackle with the pick, but a great fit in Fili Moala went just three picks ahead at #56. Jarron Gilbert seemed to fit the bill as well, but there were worries about inconsistent motor. The other choice - many had DJ Moore from Vanderbilt as the top CB left (to edit in hindsight, he'd fall much further). While both are solid cover corners, Martin provides a little less overaggressiveness, a lot more size, and more athleticism. He also played at a lower level, but Troy alums Demarcus Ware, Leodis McKelvin, and many other small school stars don't think that's a concern.