With Greg Hardy unlikely to be re-signed by Carolina, the Panthers need to find a pass rusher. Smith will likely be available in the second round and can make an impact immediately. In 2014, the former Mississippi State Bulldog totaled 48 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, nine sacks, two forced fumbles, three passes broken up and two interceptions.
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Sammie Coates, Auburn Tigers
Sammie Coates has speed that would be excellent to pair up with Kelvin Benjamin. The problem? Coates is considered as a pretty raw talent that needs to develop a bit. The Panthers could use his speed, but if he ends up projected to be drafted before Carolina's second-round pick, it's probably not worth the risk.
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Duke Johnson, Miami Hurricanes
Johnson may be long gone before the Panthers draft in the second round. The team simply has other needs ahead of a running back, but if they could get Johnson in the second, it would likely be worth it. The former Hurricane not only rushed for 1,652 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2014 but also caught 38 passes for 421 yards and three touchdowns. His ability to catch passes out of the backfield could help keep Cam Newton from being hit as much in 2015.
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Kevin White, West Virginia Mountaineers
White has seen his draft stock skyrocket since the NFL combine, and some project him to be off the board before the Panthers pick at No. 25. If White is available at 25, though, he seems like a good fit in Carolina. He's not only tall at 6-foot-3, but he also has impressive quickness that could make him the possible deep threat that Cam Newton needs. After hauling in 109 passes for 1,447 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2014, it's no surprise that White is surrounded by pre-draft hype.
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Eli Harold, Virginia Cavaliers
Harold is likely to be a second- or third-round pick, which would be amazing for the Panthers. He had an incredible 2014 season for the Cavaliers, racking up 54 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, seven sacks, two passes batted, an interception and a forced fumble. If the Panthers are able to get him with their second or third pick, he may end up being a steal when all is said and done.
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Ameer Abdullah, Nebraska Cornhuskers
With the Panthers deciding to part ways with DeAngelo Williams, and Jonathan Stewart about to turn 28 with a history of injuries, Carolina needs to find the future at running back. Thanks to a pretty deep running back class in 2015, Abdullah may be their man in the second or third round. He averaged 6.1 yards per carry in 2014, while racking up 1,611 yards and 19 touchdowns. The best part about Abdullah is that he's also more than capable of catching the ball out of the backfield, as he had 22 receptions for 269 yards and three scores last season as well.
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Dorial Green-Beckham, Missouri Tigers
With Dorial Green-Beckham having his fair share of off-field issues, there's a good chance he'll fall to the Panthers at No. 25. Unfortunately, it's unlikely that he falls beyond that. If the Panthers choose to take the risk and go with the troubled receiver in the first round, it could pay off in a big way. Carolina has other pressing needs, so they may not be willing to take a risk with their first round pick, but if so, Green-Beckham could make for an incredible weapon for Cam Newton.
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Phillip Dorsett, Miami Hurricanes
Dorsett may very well be the biggest steal at the wide receiver position in the 2015 NFL draft. His speed alone is exactly what the Panthers need to add opposite of Kelvin Benjamin, and he could be the perfect offensive weapon for Carolina. The best part of all? Dorsett is unlikely to go in the first round, and there's a good chance the Panthers could grab him with their second-round pick. This would allow Carolina to address another pressing need in the first round and still get their playmaking wide receiver in Round 2.