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Monday, March 24, 2014

Around The Draft, Daniel McCullers

60 days, 60 prospects, etc - getting tired of writing it.

And, I haven't covered some positions at all.  I've neglected the late third round outside of a player or two, and 45 days left means there will be more late round guys than early to come.

One position you wouldn't expect to be covered?  DT.

Daniel McCullers fits the need of a team that might have two of the better up and coming under-tackles in the league.  Carolina obviously double dipped last year, and while once the dust settled they explained Star Lotulelei was a NT, the truth is he started at UT a lot more, next to NT Colin Cole.  A free agent, Cole started over Dwan Edwards most of the year, but both vets played around 30% of snaps.

With Lotulelei and Kawann Short both showing UT aptitude, Edwards only fully being useful there, and the team throwing Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson at the rush spots somewhat as well, the NT job is up for grabs.  This player might or might not start - they might use Lotulelei there more next year - but they need a true runstopper to be their fourth.

That's where I see McCullers.  A ridiculous 6'7, 352, he can play either one gap or two gap responsibilities, and wasn't just a make-a-pile guy at two gap stuff.  He's played in both fronts, slides blocks somewhat in both, understands the angles of the game and somehow gets leverage at his height.  He's only a run guy, of course, and at 350, you could argue about durability in games.

So, if the team is looking for a guy to control an A gap for 25 snaps a game, this is your man.  You could argue the team doesn't have a third rounder to spend on 25 snaps of DT a game when that could be an OL that might get you 100% of snaps in a game.

You could argue a Justin Ellis/Louisiana Tech is a similar player later.  Those are all true, too.

But, McCullers is an intriguing prospect nonetheless.  The team did so much better in yards per carry with both rookies in, and that obviously diminished with either or both out.  There is, undoubtedly, a correlation between being able to control the gaps from DT to DT and defensive success, and that's Carolina's model - they just don't have the depth to make that happen as often as you might want. The idea of using Cole made sense, but the need for quality at low cost is a draftable correction.

So, I think the team will draft a DT this draft.  This is the earliest possible situation,with the exaggerated height and size that would stand out.  It's not the only place they could find a guy, no.  I'm not advocating him over others.  But it's kinda neat and I have 44 more of these to write.  They can't all be WR.
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