Monday, April 25, 2011

A lesson from '98 NFL draft

I had to move from one desk to another one way across the newsroom a couple of months ago, and in doing so I did some housecleaning and threw away a lot of stuff. For some reason, though, I kept “Mel Kiper Jr’s 1998 draft report.” I wanted to thumb through it, 13 years later, on the eve of this 2011 draft and see how it stacked up.

After looking at it awhile, I realized again why NFL GMS and others who draft players for a living have such a tough job. Just like the upcoming 2011 draft will be, the one in 1998 was littered with both busts and breakout players.

Kiper had Florida State defensive end Andre Wadsworth graded the highest overall in that draft, ahead of Peyton Manning (No.3). Wadsworth was plagued by injuries and never made the Pro Bowl; Manning is in the discussion as the best NFL quarterback ever.

Kiper’s top RB that year? Curtis Enis of Penn State (who retired at age 24 due to injuries and never had a 1,000-yard season) was No.1, well ahead of players like Fred Taylor and Ahman Green.

Randy Moss (who the Panthers could have drafted but instead took DE Jason Peter, another huge bust) was only Kiper’s 24th-highest rated player (behind WR Kevin Dyson at the position). Moss was taken No.21. Kiper was more accurate on Peter, whom the Panthers took at No.14 in a major mistake but whom Kiper had rated as only the 41st-best player in the 1998 NFL draft.

The point of all this? Kiper’s board generally is not far off most NFL teams’ draft boards. You are taking huge risks in any NFL draft, but especially when you have to make a very high draft pick.

Cam Newton is a monstrous risk, yes, but so is anyone else the Panthers would pick at No.1. Because if your No.1 pick is not a multiple Pro Bowler, you messed up. He can’t just be a good player. He has to be great.

Again, I am advocating the Panthers pick Newton – I think the upside is so high that the enormous risk is worth taking. He could be Ryan Leaf (No.4 overall in Kiper’s 1998 book), or he could be Manning, or far more likely, he will be somewhere in between those two. But because Newton has so much potential, it would be a mistake not to draft him.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

Here you go http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/story/14991408/panthers-passing-on-newton-or-just-blowing-smoke

Anonymous said...

Panther fans cannot go another year with Claussen/Moore/St Pierre/anoyone sitting at home changing diapers at the QB position.

Anonymous said...

Looks like the Auburn fans are losing out!

Anonymous said...

I love it in the final days before the draft Carolina PASSES on Cam!...LOVE it!

Anonymous said...

Bye Cam have fun in Washington LOL!

Anonymous said...

Pick AJ green, At least let us know what we have to work with. He is a safe pick and we need a #1 reciever b/c smitty said he doesn't want to be the #1 guy anymore. Smith/Green/Shockey. If a QB can work with that then we know exactly what we have to do. We can't let teams beat us by double/triple teaming Steve Smith.

Anonymous said...

LOL! FINALLY busted the BUST Newton!

Anonymous said...

"Again, I am advocating the Panthers pick Newton"

YOU AND SORENSEN AND THE REST OF THE DISTURBED AT THE DISTURBER ...

AND YOU LOVED THE TIGER WOODS PERVERT AND PROB CHEERED WHEN OJ WAS ACQUITED TOO

WE KNOW YOU KIND

SICKOS !!!!

Anonymous said...

Once again Fowler advocates picking Newton.

Once again Fowler demonstrates he is an idiot.

Does he actually do anything at the Observer except read over 13 year old news clippings?

Anonymous said...

We would be 0-6 or so before Newton would ever get in a game anyway (considering the lockout and him being a moron that can't remember one read plays from Auburn). That being said, if we're 0-6 we are in a great position to end up getting #1 again next year, aka Andrew Luck. Thefore for Newton to ever get a shot, the Panthers will have to be in contention for Luck. IT MAKES NO SENSE TO TAKE NEWTON. TAKE A DT, CB, or WR TO BOLSTER OTHER HOLES WE NEED TO FILL!!!!

Anonymous said...

"IF" Cam had 40 million $ he would be in the Meck/Union co. jail quicker than Dwayne Jarrett

Anonymous said...

ATTENTION AUBURN FANS AND REPORTERS ON HERE...Cam won't be here so move on!

Anonymous said...

Since Fowler is such a turd sniffer, better to post something from someone who knows what they are talking about:

http://eye-on-football.blogs.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/22475988/28811599

Too bad Fowler didn't throw away his "Five things I didn't or do like about something" tag line when he was moving desks. Even worse was that he was moving desks and not cleaning his out.

Anonymous said...

Think we should pass on Cam Newton since Jamarcus Russell is already availble and we can pay him with FRIED CHICKEN and BBQ RIBS instead of $.

Anonymous said...

Will they ever allow Limbaugh to own an NFL team who has been a fan all his life and game announcer jut because he is a white male who didnt like lib scum or Obama?


Newton will spell the end for the Panthers. DO NOT PICK NEWTON.

Anonymous said...

Great info Scott! Thank you for sharing your thoughts concerning lessons from previous drafts. No one knows how any of these players will develop, no matter what they do in the combine, no matter what drills they perform on John Brenkus' Sport Science and no matter what the draft gurus analysis derives. It is an inexact science. Gruden's QB Camp was entertaining, but his analysis is not the final word. Heck, if that were the case, where are all the stud young QBs that he developed during his coaching career? I think John Clayton stated, "the safe-pick theory has pitfalls". He was dead on the money! I am a huge Panther fan, and whatever direction they go with the first pick I will continue to strongly support this team. You guys keep up the good fight at the Observer and continue to overlook the negative comments on these blogs!

Anonymous said...

It's a HUUUUUUUUUUUGE mistake if the Panthers draft Cam. No offense to him but he's not the guy that is going to lead this team to a title. AJ Green makes a lot of sense as a future replacement for Steve Smith or Peterson as a lockdown corner.

What happens, if/when, the Panthers draft Cam, then end up with the #1 pick again next season. As everyone has said, Cam shouldn't play right away and as of right now this team doesn't have a QB? Suddenly we have drafted a QB with our 1st pick 2 seasons in a row and we have the #1 pick with Andrew Luck coming out. Hmmm Detroit drafting anyone?

A much better option would be to sign or trade (Smith for Palmer?) for an aging veteran that can be a short term solution and mentor to Clausen and hopefully Luck next season, meanwhile we'd address another need at WR or CB.

AJ said...

Taking (S)Cam Newton at #1 would be fitting for the Panthers. The only decent first round pick they ever made that I can recall was Peppers. Most of the others turned out to be average players at best, or injury prone, or complete busts. Instead of drafting Newton, I'd rather see the Panthers draft CMS schools, or the library, and put $70 million towards something that will pay dividends for the team and community. If they draft (S)Cam, they might as well burn that $70Mil, bc we won't see any positives out of it!

Anonymous said...

Why are you looking at Cam through Cam Jizz covered glasses?

Paul said...

Choosing Cam is the way to go because it gets Panthers out of their super cautious mold. That is needed. Unless, Peter King is right and New E wants to trade up. Says they'll trade 3 picks. With Ps needs, that would be the way to go.

Anonymous said...

Newton will NOT be selected by Jerry Richardson. Case closed. Deal with it. Its over.

Go cry racism some more because we know its coming... as usual.

Anonymous said...

http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2011/04/26/2249288/lockout-must-go-where-to-now.html


Owners pissed as hell now after some pos lib fed district judge in MN ruling and appealing.

Watch for owners to FIRE all scumbag union players now and hire new ones.

GO OWNERS !!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Panthers Problems are Bigger than One Pick. No to Cam Newton. --- The Hershel Walker trade to the Minnesota Vikings for multiple draft picks --- was the catalyst of a decade of success for thr Dallas Cowboys. It's a game with 22 starters and the Panthers have many needs. ----- If you want to talk boom or busts---- a the 1998 draft demonstrates, its all a crap shoot anyway... defined by one knee injury here or there and "poof" one guy is gone. Panthers have a new coaching staff --- and the basis to treat the next two years as the rebuilding phase for the long term. Have a Cam Newton sit on the bench or run for his life till his knees are destroyed--- no thanks. Panthers: Increase the odds! Trade the pick, deal down or make a pick who WILL contribute.

Anonymous said...

It's simple. People do not want a black man leading their team to a championship.

Kenneth said...

That's right they'd rather draft Pee Wee Herman than any black guy. They don't care how good Newton might be as long as he's not on their team. "Trade the pick, Draft some one else, Anything! Just don't draft that strong armed, intelligent, charismatic, mobile, determined, confident, black guy".

Kenneth said...

Oh, I forgot to mention that he's tall too. They can't use the excuse that he's too short on this black quarterback.

xl pharmacy said...

I don't understand well the draft's system so I do not know what was the lesson but if you learned somethings to improve it, that's good !