That old Beatles song with the disturbing "No.9, No.9" refrain is running through my head this morning after the Panthers lost a coin flip in Indianapolis with the Miami Dolphins, meaning Carolina will draft No.9 in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft (which begins on Thursday, April 26). They will then pick No.8 in the second round, ahead of Miami.
But hey, it's OK to lose a coin flip, as I wrote about in my last column. Previous recent No.9 picks have included Chicago linebacker Brian Urlacher, Jacksonville running back Fred Taylor and Minnesota defensive tackle Kevin Williams, and they all turned out all right.
The difference between No.8 and No.9 is ultimately pretty negligible -- you should be able to get a starter either way. The Bobcats had the No.9 pick in the 2011 NBA draft, incidentally, and ended up with Kemba Walker.
Now I haven't studied the draft to any great length, but I sure liked Boston College inside linebacker Luke Kuechly when I saw him play on TV. He'd be a great possibility, as would LSU defensive tackle Michael Brockers. While defense is the huge need for the Panthers, you'd also have to consider Oklahoma State WR Justin Blackmon if he fell that far (I don't think he will).
Two other random notes on a Friday:
-- My friend, the talented sportswriter Bethany Bradsher, will be at the Barnes and Noble Arboretum to sign copies of her book "The Classic" from 1-3 p.m. Saturday. Bradsher's book is a rollicking history of the old Dixie Classic, which was a fantastic college basketball tournament in Raleigh 50 years ago that included all of the Big Four ACC teams until it was brought down by a gambling scandal. It's well worth your time and money.
-- My parents are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary today. In this day and age, that's quite a number. Congrats to them!!
Benjamin expected to return Saturday
10 hours ago