Monday, April 30, 2012

5 final draft thoughts on Panther picks

After surveying all the Panther picks one last time, here's what I'm thinking:

1. For quite awhile, when the other team was forced to punt to the Panthers it has been a great time to go get a snack. Armanti Edwards stopped fumbling the ball on returns in 2011, but he just can't break one. He's been given plenty of chances back there and it's time for someone else to do it. Fourth-round pick Joe Adams (who ran four punts back for TDs at Arkansas last season) should take that job in 2012. And if the Panthers' wide receivers all stay healthy, I don't think Edwards makes the team this season.

2. I still don't think the Panthers did enough in the draft on defense, where the team lost the majority of its games in 2011. That said, unlike my colleague Tom Sorensen (whose post-draft column you can read here), I really like the pick of Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly. You simply can't have too many great tacklers on the field, and Kuechly has a built-in GPS for the ball.

3. But after the excellent Kuechly pick, the Panthers only used three of their final six picks on defense (DE Frank Alexander in the fourth, DB Josh Norman in the fifth and DB D.J. Campbell in the seventh). I would have rather them use at least one more on that side of the ball, where they allowed franchise highs in points and total yards in 2011.

4. I'm still not sure about Amini Silatolu as a second-round pick. I know that's about where a lot of draft analysts rated him, yes. But an offensive guard in the second round? It just seems to me there were greater needs out there. He's going to have to prove himself.

5. The Panthers have had a tradition of never taking punters or kickers in the draft, but they broke it Saturday with Wisconsin's Brad Nortman in the sixth round. I'm OK with that one -- a good punter is like a 12th defensive player. And the Panthers had to have one since they released Jason Baker for salary-cap reasons. Nortman is supposed to be very consistent and as long as the Panthers don't let him kick to Devin Hester (you know what I'm talking about), they should be fine there.


Anonymous said...

1) Armanti and Clausen should BOTH be cut as soon as possible to purge the terrible vibes they give off. What a downer to see Armanti come in a game, and then see that clown Clausen on sidelines not even active

2) TOM SORENSEN = nice enough guy, but he STOLE his "I'm not going to grade the draft" line from an earlier PFT article. Sham.

3) uhhhh, Scott, you didnt think we needed an OG? Check your roster. Oh, and btw, a few teams had Silamona-mona rated as a 1st rder. Please listen to the presser. I'll trust Rivera over you.

4) You are right about Kuechly - Dudes a tackling beast. SORENSEN tries to make some divisive point about Beason not moving to the side. Maybe he won't. Maybe it'll be Keek who does. But dont forget, Beason played the edge a lot when Connor came in before.

5) Alexander will be a monster. Book it. The guy cant wait to rip RG3's head off again

Anonymous said...

Joe Adams = Dante Hall

Anonymous said...

When you say that you wish we had addressed defense more, I assume you are talking about drafting a defensive tackle? That's the only defensive position we didn't address, and it was probably our biggest need. Kiper criticized us for the same thing in his draft grade, said DT was the biggest need and we failed to address it.

I think the Panthers got this one right though. People somehow forget that we invested two third round picks in DTs last year.. there was no reason to add another mid-round DT to the mix. The issue last year was youth and talent, not depth. If we were going to take a DT, it should have been a gamechanger in the first round. They decided they didn't like Poe, Brockers or Cox, and I'll trust them. But if we didn't draft one there, I don't see a reason to draft another mid-rounder later to add to Fua and McClain.

Anonymous said...

Ron Edwards will be back from injury. Plus, we have the two youngins at DT that hopefully get better. Taking Kuechly was not a bad move at all. Let's face it, Beason may not be 100% by training camp. And we all know Thomas Davis is going to blow his knee out... again. I hate to say it, but it seems to happen every year like a holiday (like Halloween).

Brendan said...



dadadnit said...

ditto anon. we need to develop our investments from last year. same can be said at receiver with gettis and pilares.
and whos to say we dont play more 3-4 with our lb talent greater than dline.
finally, silatolu could become the next nate newton, who by the way went to mighty florida (a & m).

Vikram said...

There were no DTs in this draft at the level of Ndamukung Suh or even Kris Jenkins. If there were, I am sure Rivera and Hurney would have considered him at Number 9.

Luke Kuechly is a great pick. I have seen him play in person and also had the opportunity to speak to him at the Boston College campus. There are so may intangibles about him that I can even list. I can guarantee we all will be thanking Hurney and RR for the next 10 years atleast. He is THAT good.

That said, we probably needed a high-motor, high-ability DE. I don't know much about Alexander but I think he is being thought of as a rotational DE with Applewhite and Hardy. According to me, the rotation policy on a DT doesn't work too well. In a division with Brees, Ryan and even Freeman, a good DE is extremely vital (look at the NY Giants). Just to clarify that I was never sold on Coples though and I agree with RR and Hurney for passing him.

Anonymous said...

We didn't need a DT... you guys forget about Kearse and Shirley - those guys are huge and once we had them clogging up the middle and Keiser/Applewhite rotating in at DE we won four of the last six games including shutting down the Texans great running game. Fua, McClain and NEsbet will be better this year too... Davis isn't coming back - so we had to get a LB. We also needed to add a solid young lineman. Adams is a steal and Alexander has potential but needs to beat out Kieser and Applewhite to make second team. And don't forget Ron Edwards....

Wade said...

When I saw the Amini Silatolu pick, I immediately thought of the opening of the movie The Blindside. Your first check is to your mortgage, your second is to your insurance company.

Like it or not, Cam is the face of the franchise. He will bring in the money to the team. The team has to protect the money maker. The less hits Cam takes, the longer his career. A good offensive line is vital to any good offense.

Anonymous said...

Brilliant comment Scott. Of course Amini is going to have to "prove himself". All draft picks do. Our defense doesn't have to be great---just passable. The colts, pats, and saints have all won with average (or below average) defenses. I'm okay with the pick.

Anonymous said...

The Panther's policy seems to be to give mid and high level draft picks 2 seasons to prove themselves, so this is likely the reason they chose not to invest another pick this draft in a DT. I'm sure they were considering DT Worthy in rnd 2, but felt the need to solidify the OL more pressing. With Kuechly and Alexander added to the front 7 mix, we should see a defense not ranked near the bottom.

Anonymous said...

With the Panthers drafting Kuechely, it makes me think they are looking at using the 3-4 defense. more.

Anonymous said...

Scott, I live in SF and I see the difference Iupati made to this whole offense, and they took him in the FIRST round -- I believe Silatolu will do similar wonders -- and I'm not the only one (from SportingNews):

2nd Round: Amini Silatolu, OL - Run Blocker Extraordinaire. Sports Illustrated's Peter King labeled the Panthers pick of Amini Silatolu as the "Best Pick, Offense" in the entire draft. King said, "Multiple teams targeted him late in the first round, and GM Marty Hurney got a great value here." Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports called him "a terrific run blocker" and Rotoworld's Evan Silva called him "a difference-making run blocker."

Anonymous said...

I think it's funny how everyone blames the woes of the punt return game on one person. The coverage team was a fiasco. When the Panther returner was given the opportunity to catch the ball and make a decent return, the play was nullified by a penalty. I believe this happened on 3 occasions, the longest run of 40+ yards being called back. The other 90% of the time the returner was surrounded by tacklers as the ball reached his hands. I can't blame the returner for the lack of trying.
We can all sit in our cubicles and criticize and pontificate how the next guy will be better, but in reality we don't know.