Draft Q&A with Rocky Top Talk on Panthers’ third round pick
  • I spoke with Terry Lambert of SB Nation’s Rocky Top Talk about Rashaan Gaulden’s career as a Tennessee Volunteer and why Panthers fans aren’t out of line in hoping that he could develop into a safety in the NFL.Cat Scratch Reader: What does Gaulden do best in the secondary?Rocky Top Talk: Gaulden’s best quality to me was his ability to impact the run defense. Tennessee played a ton of nickel and put Gaulden in a bunch of in-the-box situations. He’s an outstanding open field tackler and very instinctive when playing the run. CSR: What can you tell us about Gaulden’s ability to play the ball in the air? RTT: Tough question to answer here because he just wasn’t in a position to play the ball in the air a ton at Tennessee C.J. Anderson Jersey , hence the career interception total of one. The best thing he’s got going for him in this area is his length at 6-1, but I’m not sure he’s got the pure athletic ability to consistently stick with NFL receivers in man to man coverage. I’m fascinated to see how the Panthers use him. CSR: What was Gaulden’s most memorable moment for the Volunteers?RTT: Yeah this is an easy one. Tennessee is getting absolutely trashed by Alabama and in a pure moment of joy, Gaulden flips off the Alabama crowd. Tennessee didn’t have many moments to celebrate in 2017, so it’s hard to blame him. He later apologized Wes Horton Jersey , but it made most fans love him even more. CSR: From bust to hall-of-fame, how well do you think Gaulden’s career will go?RTT: I think Gaulden has enough ability and length to be productive at the next level. He’s probably not a good enough pure athlete to succeed as a true cornerback, but he would thrive in a nickel or safety role. I’ll give him a solid-NFL-starter grade.CSR: What is one thing about Gaulden’s game that you won’t hear in the average scouting report?RTT: He’s a pest and a little bit of an agitator. The guy just flat makes plays. I remember a moment against Georgia Tech where the game appeared lost -- Tech was actually running in for another touchdown to ice the game. Gaulden came in out of nowhere and punched the ball out, forcing a turnover. Tennessee found a way to win from there Cheap Luke Kuechly Jersey , all because of that one play. CSR: What was your reaction to the Panthers drafting him?RTT: Decent spot. My immediate thought was that he could challenge for playing time at safety on that roster, which is where I think he will be best. CSR: Are there any good off field stories about Gaulden’s time at Tennessee?RTT: Going back to his middle-finger salute — Gaulden apologized, but then kind of doubled down on the moment at the same time. He famously said “I hate Alabama, that’s just how it is Cheap Christian McCaffrey Jersey ,” during an interview at Tennessee’s pro day. I can’t tell you how much that resonates with people in Knoxville.Panthers 2018 season opener countdown: 54 days to go With 54 days until the the Panthers opener that means we are here to discuss LB Shaq Thompson. Shaq ThompsonLB, No. 54Height: 6’0”Weight: 230 lbsAge: 24Born: 4/21/1994 Sacramento, CACollege: WashingtonExperience: 4th seasonHigh School: Grant Union HS [Sacramento, CA]Thompson is penciled in yet again as the starter next to Pro Bowlers Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis. Thompson has all the physical gifts to be a Pro Bowl player and certainly has plenty of starting experience as well. So I am expecting Thompson to take a big leap this season. He will get a chance to shine right out of the gate.As you know Thomas Davis was suspended for the first four games of the 2018 season for failing a drug test. As a result we need Thompson to make this leap right out of the gate. He most likely will get a chance to play Davis’ WLB position Cheap Kawann Short Jersey , the position he seems best suited for given his play speed. These first four games (Cowboys, @Falcons, Bengals, Giants) will give us a preview of what the WLB position will look like past Davis’ (35) career Cheap Greg Olsen Jersey , which I hope still has at least a couple seasons. Fun FactThompson was a star performer in baseball and track in college. He was also one of the highest rated prospects in the country coming out of high school.While he apparently plateaued early in baseball he has not done that in football. It’s going to be hard for any LB to shine when playing next to Luke Kuechly but I think Thompson will measure up in 2018.Keep pounding.