As we get word this week that OT Jeff Otah joins the growing number of Panthers on injured reserve and out for the season, it made me wonder how much (or little) the top of the ballyhooed Panther draft classes for the past few years have been contributing to this 1-7 team.
Not surprisingly, they're not getting it done -- much like the team in general. For a club that prides itself on "homegrown" players, this is a major problem.
Let's take a look simply at the Panthers' first- and second-round picks from 2005-2010 and how they're doing this season. The numbers are pretty stark (and also show how injuries can pummel a team in the short term):
1st -- Thomas Davis, LB. Looked like a Pro Bowler when he played in 2009, but hasn't played all season due to knee injury and is out for the year.
2nd -- Eric Shelton, RB. Was a total miss from the beginning and has long been gone.
1st -- DeAngelo Williams, RB. Has been outstanding for much of past two seasons, but subpar in 2010 (and has missed last two games with foot injury). Only 1 TD and 361 rushing yards in first half of this season.
2nd -- Richard Marshall, CB. Has developed into a fairly solid starter at cornerback, but certainly nothing special.
1st -- Jon Beason, LB. One of Panthers' best picks in club history; the heart and soul of the defense. Still, no interceptions or sacks in 2010.
2nd -- Dwayne Jarrett, WR. Total waste of a pick. Ended up with more DUI arrests than TDs in his career.
2nd -- Ryan Kalil, C. A solid starter for the O-line and definitely a core player.
1st -- Jonathan Stewart, RB. Terrible first half of 2010 (3.0 average, 208 yards, 1 TD). Sustained concussion in last game.
1st -- Jeff Otah, OL. Durability concerns his entire career, especially now that a supposedly minor knee injury has kept him out of the whole 2010 season.
2nd -- Everette Brown, DE. Panthers traded a future first-round pick for Brown, a pass-rushing specialist who hasn't had a sack in all of 2010.
2nd -- Sherrod Martin, S. Has become a decent starter in defensive backfield.
2nd -- Jimmy Clausen, QB. Has played a lot early and been singularly unimpressive, going 0-3 as a starter and getting benched twice already by coach John Fox. Jury still out.
So that's your core group, and that's a huge reason why Carolina has been so awful. Of the best picks from those six years, many have been hurt or hamstrung by injury problems this season -- and this team didn't have a lot of depth to begin with.
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