Panthers fans can all agree on one thing for sure - whatever happens from here on, the 2010 draft will live long in the memory. There were several moves made by several teams with some of the picks appearing to be borderline insane. The Panthers ended up with the following:
Quarterbacks: Jimmy Clausen, Tony Pike
WR: Brandon Lafell, Armanti Edwards, David Gettis
LB: Eric Norwood,
DE: Greg Hardy
DB: Jordan Pugh, RJ Stanford, Robert McClain
I am going to take a guess at what the Panthers were thinking…
Fox & Hurney did not address either line during the draft which is consistent with what Fox said before the draft. They are likely to add some competition for backup spots between the draft and preaseason. However, they are comfortable with the names that are slated to start. We drafted recruits for skill positions, a strategy that Fox had mentioned before the draft. From the picks above, we can conclude that the Passing game (Offense and Defense) and Special Teams have been the primary areas of focus.
With the rule changes to protect QBs, a strong passing game is becoming more and more crucial to the success of the team. The core philosophy of the team is not going to change - establish the run and stop the run. But being able come from behind requires a strong passing game.
I think Fox and Hurney were interested in McCoy & Tebow who were more likely options in the second round. However, they did not anticipate Clausen being passed on by so many teams. They even tried to trade up for him but could not get a good price. Eventually it worked out as Clausen fell all the way to #48. We went on to pick up Tony Pike in the 6th round.
I think it is pretty clear that Fox and Hurney feel that after landing Clausen, we have a potential franchise QB who can win us games with his arm. Nobody could tell you with certainty every time whether a draft pick is going to be a Hit or Bust but Clausen is a great bet with the 48th pick. Matt Moore is a capable game manager but we were unwilling to give him the keys to the offense even when Jake Delhomme went through the nightmare patch last year. He has done well with his chances and he deserves to be favored as the starter for 2010. He is likely to start even if Clausen matches him during preseason.
Some have implied that Moore deserved an opportunity to be the starter without any competition from outside - without any "QB controversy". The fact remains that there was always going to be a backup whether it is a veteran or a rookie or both. It seems that some of us are upset that we might have found an upgrade at the position. I hope I don’t come off as being condescending but that is a little strange. The only reason this is an issue is because Moore is not well-established yet and until he is any QB that is drafted is a potential contender for the starting spot.
I also understand that Jake Delhomme got a long rope - but Jake was our QB for 6 years before last season and he had an average QBR of 86 in that period. Hence the loyalty. Matt Moore has done well taking over and we want to get to know him better. He is a fine kid and he will get his chance to fight for the job. In the end though, we are most likely to pick the guy who will produce results immediately. If Moore is not that man, then Panthers will do the classy thing and find him a place where he could be #1. Drafting Tony Pike was one way to prepare for that eventuality. Simply put, we cover a lot of bases and increase competition in the camp. The Panthers seem confident that all the QBs will be in the mix and continue to emphasize that they rate both Matt Moore and Hunter Cantwell very highly. Personally, I think Pike has a lot of ground to cover in this race.