Alright guys, this started out as a simple reply to Jaxon's Draft Grade post found here. However, upon finishing it, I realized I didn't want to be a jackass that leaves a 4 page comment that everyone has to stroll through just to get to the comments below (assuming you're not using the holy Z method) every time they go back to the post. So, I figured I'd just copy and paste it right over to a FanPost. Here we go...
What kind of expectations do you guys have with these B and C draft ratings? Considering the picks we had (lack of first rounder), and the kind of turn-out we were expecting, we made out like absolute effing bandits.
Jimmy Clausen - I've grown to this pick over the course of the day. I literally thought about it all day at work. We are stacked at QB now. Imagine this..
Scenario A) Say Moore ends up our starter this year and does a great job. Clausen and Pike sit behind him and learn for a year which is, in my opinion, the best thing a rookie QB can do. Once the season ends, Moore demands a very large contract due to his newly found value (especially with that Super Bowl win under his belt). So what do we do? We either sign'em and trade'em or we let him walk because we've got two cheap franchise-worthy QB's sitting in the shadows that aren't
rookies.. We win for many years to come.
Scenario B) We determine a starter that finds himself on IR in week 3, we've still got two very capable QB's ready to step up and take the reigns. We, once again, win.
Scenario C) We trade one for a high round pick next year and still maintain two capable QB's. For a third time, we win.
I think those three should be enough to see why we took both Clausen and Pike. Not to mention, we should see an increase in recognition from the talking heads. Rather we as fans deem that to be good or bad, it can only be good from a business perspective. More attention means more spotlight (generally) means more revenue and a possibility to flex into prime time so all of us can actually see a Panther game. In fact, according to NFLDraftScout.com player ratings (updated 4/22), we claimed ourselves TWO of the top FIVE rated QB's in the draft WITHOUT spending first round money. Are you crazy? If not, I must be.
Brandon LaFell - For us, he's Moose V2.0, what more do you want? For the rest of the world (Well, that's a lie. NFLDraftScout.com to be exact), he's Anquan Boldin V2.0. There has been a ton of talk about replacing Moose and there was a ton of displeasure when we didn't make a move for Boldin - well, guess what? We just potentially (and I say 'potentially' as a good thing, not bad, as potential is the only thing any draft pick currently has) killed both discussions with one pick in the third round. Lets just take a look at some of the
brown golden nuggets found in his analysis on NFLDraftScout.com...
"Accelerates smoothly to challenge deep despite only marginal top-end speed."
"Can snatch the ball out of the air outside of his frame... Typically secures the ball quickly and looks to gain additional yardage."
"...a good route-runner with the body control to sink his hips and generate burst out of his breaks to gain separation. Very effective post and slant route-runner."
"Good vision and burst to gain yardage after the catch... Courageous going over the middle and fights for every ball thrown his way. Takes a hit and hangs on to the ball."
"Seems to take pride in his ability to keep his assignment from making the tackle. Looks to escort his teammate downfield if he breaks into the open."
(Note: I wonder how many times we'll be seeing him escort D-Will or J-Stew this year? I'd bet a lot.)
"Prototypical build for an NFL receiver. Long-armed, muscled up frame."
Did I mention we got him in the third round, after a franchise QB in the second? Yeah, that's pretty effing awesome in my book.
Armanti Edwards - Who else did we nab in the third? Oh yeah, that's right, seemingly a CSR fan-favorite (I know I certainly wanted him, I projected him to go in the 6th/7th though, how foolish I was! Apparently he wasn't our little secret after all.) Let's see.. Armanti could potentially take the field at... QB... WR... HB... KR... PR... Am I forgetting anything? Oh yeah, that's right, he's probably the most dangerous threat in the wildcat that the NFL has seen to date. Allow me to quote a song I used to love listening to.. only modified... "[We] started this [wildcat] sh*t... and this the muthaf*ckin' thanks [we] get?". I'm going to put my faith in the coaching staff and believe that they plan to fully utilize the talent we just landed ourselves. I could go on about Armanti but I truly believe there's only one thing that really need be said. Put this guy on the practice field with Steve Smith and you will soon see that a beast is born. I wouldn't be surprised to see Smith take Armanti under his wing, at all, due to their similar smurfitus status. Just remember, our smurfs will dominate you.
PS. if you've seen Panthers.com, you know Edwards and LaFell are already in Charlotte getting ready for the season. Eager much?
Eric Norwood - My personal favorite pick of the draft. I, along with many others, have been calling for him for months now. Paired with Beason and Davis, we will have an incredible trio of linebackers on field. Honestly, I expect this guy to take the starting position right out of the hands of Connor and Anderson. Why? Because I'd expect him to take it out of the hands of Diggs or Johnson as well, if they were still here. Norwood is a beast that only need learn the ways of the NFL before becoming a force. Carolina is shaping a defense ready to fight for the title of "Best in the NFL" and Norwood will be an integral part of that as he learns the system. I have to utmost confidence in Meeks to get the very best out of Norwood, as he does all of our other defensive players. The complete lack of attention the defensive tackle position got leads me to believe Meeks is satisfied as-is, which is a good thing. Norwood could also effectively play defensive end if Meeks sees fit, or if something terrible were to happen at the position. He's roughly the same size as Everette Brown. The fact that we got him in the 4th is incredible as it was nothing but a far fetched fantasy of mine before today. Analysis found here.
"High-effort defender and leader on and off the field. Voted team captain for the 2009 season."
We like those guys. I'm already laying out #90 for him, to be everything that other guy couldn't have been bothered to be. I still have issues comprehending that Eric Norwood is a freakin' Panther.
Greg Hardy - Very solid pick here in the 6th round. Yes, the same Greg Hardy that NFLDraftScout.com projected to go as early as the 3rd fell to us in the 6th. Was that not the story of our entire draft? Lets see what was said about this guy...
"Rare athleticism for the position. Actually used as a wide receiver early in his career and had three receiving touchdowns."
"Rangy defender who can break down in space and make the secure tackle."
"Strength: A vastly underrated component of Hardy's effectiveness as a pass rusher. Good upper-body strength to disengage from the pass blocker. Good strength for the bull rush. Good leverage and leg drive to anchor when necessary."
"Good lateral agility to beat the tackle outside and force the sweep wide. Good strength and use of leverage to control the tackle. Feels the cut block coming and sprawls effectively to protect his legs and maintain his balance. Good effort and closing speed behind the line of scrimmage."
Oh, and for an NFL comparison? None other than...
"NFL Comparison: Julius Peppers, Bears"
So is that other guy going to be missed? No, I don't believe so - not at all. Give Hardy some time in an NFL caliber training program, adequate time to adjust to the pro's, and he might just find himself opposite Everette Brown as the season goes on. Projecting a 6th rounder may see starting snaps in his rookie year - crazy right? Yeah, well, this entire draft was crazy.
David Gettis - A WR that leads me to believe we are drafting off of facial features as he shares nearly the exact same haircut/beard as LaFell. Regardless, an extremely sound pick for a 6th rounder. He's slightly bigger than LaFell, and slightly quicker in a straight line, Gettis is one of the two players my mock hit in the right round (He in the 6th and Norwood in the 4th; I had Armanti pegged but on the complete wrong side of the draft). I bet you know where this link goes.
"Has moves and strength to get past press coverage, but must be more quick and violent with his hands to beat the jam. Accelerates quickly off the line and gets past most corners with his long strides."
Is there really any better teammate in the NFL than Steve Smith to have when being 'violent' is your problem? Well, I should add, any better teammate that likely won't get you suspended (anymore)? Let Steve share some knowledge with the guy on how to make the ball 'his' and I think this problem disappears.
"Catches nearly everything thrown his way, but traps the ball against his chest too often; needs to trust his large and strong hands and catch the ball away from his frame. Extends to grab wide throws and reaches above his head to snare high throws, exhibiting good body control in the air."
A negative and a positive, though I'm focusing on the negative this time. It definitely seems, to me, like a problem correctable by our coaching staff which, I guess, is a positive, right?
"Uses his size and length to get physical separation, and his long strides are hard for corners to match when running full tilt down the sideline. Sells the deep route, but has better foot quickness than expected for his size when stopping to curl or turn outside."
"Possesses acceleration and elusiveness not expected of large receivers. Also able to stiff arm and run through smaller would-be tacklers in the secondary."
"Uses his size to neutralize corners in the run game or on quick screens, dropping his hips and extending to keep them from ripping off."
And we got this guy in the sixth round? Really? A 6'3, 217lb receiver with good hands that can block and runs a low 4.4 40? Maybe that sounds normal to some but it sounds like a ridiculous deal right before the 200's to me. I'm surprised Oakland didn't snatch this guy up for his size/speed combo.
Tony Pike - I know I skipped a pick here but, really, the other guys seem to all have been drafted with the same thing in mind. Pike was our last 6th round pick and rated by NFLDraftScout.com as the 5th best QB in the draft. Why did he fall to us that late? Eff if I know! Lets get right into the analysis of this guy...
"Smooth, accurate throws to either sideline. On the money with slants, giving receivers a chance to make a play after the catch. Puts good air under the deep ball when the receiver is behind his man and calmly throws to the wide open man with a little off the ball when defenders fall down. Makes the behind-the-shoulder throw when needed. Places end zone throws where only his receiver can make the play. Accurate with a defender draped on him."
"Average to above-average arm. Typically throws with seemingly little effort but recognizes when he really needs to step into one. Throws outs to the short or far side with plenty of strength. Tight spiral on most passes, but will wobble a bit when putting air under the throw."
"Usually works out of the shotgun, but is also poised taking the snap under center. Agile coming out from the snap to hand off despite his height. Stands tall (literally and figuratively) and carries the ball well in the pocket. Quiet feet and shows good balance when not pressured, but tends to get skittish and leave the pocket unnecessarily. Mostly over the top with his delivery with nice follow through to ensure accuracy. Drops his arm into a three-quarters slot when the time is right. Steps up into the pocket, keeps his eyes downfield and deliver."
"Recognizes defense's weakness and exploits it."
"Unexpected mobility for his size. Some elusiveness in the pocket and in the open field... Doesn't go down as easily as you would think given his lean frame; able to step away from players falling at his feet or trying to cut tackle him. Feels back-side pressure and capable of staying ahead of quick defenders to get the ball away. Will slide when prudent, although it is a bit awkward because of his height. Makes accurate short, intermediate and deep throws running to either his left or right, keeping his shoulders square while moving down the line."
"Strong competitor; no problems with his work ethic or ability to run an NFL offense."
Obviously I only focused on the positives there... Why? Because that's an absolute sh*tload of positives for the 204th overall pick. I think I'm going to wake up and realize it was all a dream now...
Jordan Pugh, RJ Stanford, Robert Mcclain - Of all of our fantastic picks, these seem to be the questionable ones. Why? I don't know, maybe getting 6 rounds of amazing deals/steals made people a little overly optimistic about the final round. What do you expect from 6th/7th round players? Let us remember that Pike (and possibly Gettis) are exceptions and not the rule. I thought a 7th rounder that even sees the field was a pretty good pick. Apparently not by some standards. Regardless, I think all of these guys were picked for a reason - not just a shot in the dark. They're all quick, athletic players that will add a ton of speed to our special teams. Who knows, one may end up developing into a starting or back-up caliber CB for us but I don't see that as being the reason we drafted these guys at all. We've already made small moves leading up to the draft to shore up our atrocious special teams unit from last year, I think these picks just cemented it a little bit. We're getting guys that can get down field fast and make the tackle and hopefully some guys that can get in the way on returns. If these guys can improve our special teams this year (or in the future), I call the end of this draft a success.
Final Grade: F (For Fanf*ckingtastic)
(Real Grade: A+)
Sorry - is my enthusiasm showing? What about the alcohol?