East Carolina Pirates: Zay Jones Stock Rising

East Carolina Pirates record breaker Zay Jones is working his way up the draft boards.

One player whose draft futures seem to be on the rise is East Carolina Pirates star Zay Jones. The receiver is being seen as a slot type weapon in this upcoming draft. That includes praise at the highest levels of draft hype.

ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper recently conducted his full first round mock draft where he picks all the players for all the teams. He got down to the Pittsburgh Steelers at the end of first round and decided to give them Jones. Kiper wanted insurance against the possible suspension troubles of Martavus Bryant. Even so, I would think that Ben Roethlisberger would enjoy having another quality target.

Even if Jones ends up in the second round, there are plenty of good options and teams that could use him. Those teams might include the local Carolina Panthers. The Panthers have worked out Jones and used one of their thirty predraft visits on him according to reports from Stephen Igoe of Hoist the Colors.

The Panthers were surprisingly dumped (for the second time no less) by good old Ted Ginn in the off season. That opened up a need at the slot receiver which the Panthers may have partially addressed with the acquisition of Charles Johnson (the ex-Viking not the lineman) earlier this year. Jones could meet that need, but the Panthers might also deploy Christian McCaffrey in that spot instead if they take him with the eighth pick.

Jones has shown one quality that would make him attractive to the Panthers, catching the football. No one has ever done it more in college than Jones has. Cam Newton needs bigger receivers who can grip it, because he is not going to give a nice pillow throw to bring in. Drops continue to be the Panthers’ worst enemy.

Wherever he goes, here is hoping that Jones will find a way to make an impact. The draft is now just a week away.