04/30/2012 - A closer look at the Panthers' picks: Round 5/143 -- Josh Norman, CB, 6-0, 197, Coastal Carolina...Good size and a solid frame, with good athleticism but not exceptional downfield speed. Good ball skills, and has shown the ability to create turnovers. COULD SURPRISE: Cornerback Josh Norman: With 13 career interceptions (along with four forced fumbles and four blocked kicks), he has shown a knack for the ball. That's something the Panthers needed, because opponents threw with impunity at the guy opposite Chris Gamble last year. - The Sports Xchange
Though recruited by some bigger schools, Josh Norman followed his All-American older brother Marrio to Coastal Carolina, signing with the Chanticleer's as a non-scholarship walk-on. Proving himself to be an immediate standout, Norman started seven of the 12 games of his freshman season and all 34 the rest of the way, earning all-conference accolades after each of his final three seasons and a All-American honors as a sophomore and senior. Norman exploded onto the scene in 2009 by shattering the Big South league record and tying for second in the country with eight interceptions. Not surprisingly teams were much more hesitant to throw the ball in his direction over the next two years. He left CCU with 196 tackles (including seven tackes for loss), 35 passes broken up and 13 interceptions over his career. Strong efforts at the East-West Shrine Game and Senior Bowl eased any concerns scouts may have had about Norman's ability to play with the big boys. With his length, athleticism and natural ball skills, Norman will be highly valued by press cover teams and could earn a top 75 pick -- or higher -- if he times well at the Combine.
Strengths: Long-armed press corner with size, athleticism and ball skills. Gets an effective jab on the receiver and has loose enough hips to turn and run. Good agility and balance when shadowing his target. Competitive player. Plays the ball as if it was thrown for him, showing burst back to the ball as well as good timing for the jump ball. Good hand-eye coordination. Rips the ball out of the hands of receivers as they grasp at it (35 career PBUs) and shows good hands to make the interception (13 career INTs). Possesses long arms (32.5) and can extend and snatch the ball as well as track the ball over his shoulder. Cagey. Will bait quarterbacks to throw in his direction and shows a surprising burst downhill. Alert run defender willing to take on and discard receiver blockers to get to the action. Enjoyed a strong week of practice at the East-West Shrine Game and and a late call-up to the Senior as an injury replacement, impressive in both environments... Big play artist on special teams, registering a school-record four blocked kicks...
Weaknesses: At his best in press-man coverage as he has a high backpedal and loses a step turning without a cushion. Plays with adequate speed but there are concerns about his ability to handle the truly explosive speedsters of the NFL. Makes himself vulnerable to big plays on occassion by attempting to bait the quarterback. Was arrested in October 2009 for driving with a suspended license.