Cameron Artis-Payne: Panthers’ 2nd Fifth Round Pick

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The Panthers drafted Cameron Artis-Payne with their second pick of the fifth round, at pick 174. He represents the last selection the Panthers have in the 2015 NFL Draft. He played running back at Auburn University.

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Artis-Payne is an inside rusher. At 5’11” 210, he has a good deal of strength and his preferred place to be is in between the tackles. He had a late start to his college career, and as a result is turning 25 this year. The future is now for Artis-Payne, and he should view the Panthers fluid situation at running back as an opportunity.

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Artis-Payne is most importantly fresh legs. One of the key issues that the Panthers had the running back position was the declining production of veteran DeAngelo Williams. Artis-Payne allows the Panthers to infuse new legs into the system. Life in running back is pretty short in its production cycle anyway. Artis-Payne’s best years are most likely the first few he has in the league.

Artis-Payne was part of the Malzahn offense at Auburn that tried to ground opponents to death for the last two years. As a result, he ran for 1,608 yards last season for the Tigers. He is capable of the breakout game as well, as he had 221 yards in a single game against the Texas A&M Aggies.

It is too soon to tell if Artis-Payne is the final answer the Panthers will have about their running backs. Right now it is top man Jonathan Stewart and surprise asset Fozzy Whittaker that sit on top of the depth chart. Whittaker is probably more of a third down back, meaning the Panthers will be looking to fill carries not taken by Stewart.

Artis-Payne will be in the mix for that, but remember that Cam Newton and Mike Tolbert will also get carries over the course of the year.

Next: David Mayo: Panthers' 1st Fifth Round Pick