Panther Paw Prints: Post Draft Edition

We we are a week removed from the draft and the grades are in. The Panthers draft evaluations run the gamut from A- to C-. I can't help but start with one of the more ridiculous assessments.

Jimmy Clausen, Quarterback, Notre Dame, 48th Pick Overall | 2010 NFL Draft Report Card: Carolina Panthers | Bleacher Report
When I heard the announcement that Carolina took Jimmy Clausen I nearly turned the television off. I have long been a critic of this administration and this selection brings a lot more. With Golden Tate, Taylor Mays and even Javier Arenas on the board you'd think Fox and Hurney would go after something they needed. Instead, they go after a guy who only Notre Dame fans truly think has the qualities of a NFL quarterback.

How can anyone say the Panthers didn't need a QB when they only had two on the roster with a combined 7 starts? Safety and CB were bigger needs? Please...

Jimmy Clausen took some grief for his poor showing at Gruden's QB camp for sure. Many people also point to his college announcement which I had heard he attended in a Hummer. Now it's a limo...this makes me wonder whether any of it is true:

Rear-View Mirror Look at NFL Draft -- NFL FanHouse
2. Jon Gruden on Jimmy Clausen: "There's a perception that he showed up in a limo when he committed to Notre Dame." As a fellow wag of mine noted, "Huh. I could have sworn I was there when that actually happened. Guess it was just a perception."

Talk about getting ahead of themselves, I don;t understand this perceived 'hot seat' crap with Fox. Sure not being extended is a concern but for some reason I feel Fox is more secure than the situation suggests.

Is Jimmy Clausen The Best Quarterback Of The 2010 Draft?
Coach John Fox occupies one of the hottest seats in the NFL as he enters the final year of a contract with no extension in sight. A coach on the hot seat doesn't need a rookie quarterback; a coach on the hot seat needs players who can help him save his job. If the Panthers fail to do enough in 2010 to extend Fox's stay, the next head coach may want no part of Clausen. The new coach may prefer sixth-round rookie Tony Pike, or presumed starter Matt Moore, who now has to be wondering whether he'll have the job come September.

Does Kiper's assessment make anyone feel better?

Kiper: Clausen will be a good QB - CharlotteObserver.com
"He wants everybody to compete like he is," said Kiper. "That's how a quarterback has to be. It's amazing when you talk about that swagger and that confidence you want. Jimmy had that and everybody knocked him for it. I never understood that."

He makes a good point....Wow...just wow. The percent of Panthers that are original Panther draft picks is quite impressive.

Panthers answer question about team's direction - CharlotteObserver.com
Of the 71 players under contract after the draft (not counting the undrafted rookies who will sign later this week), 41 were drafted by the Panthers, including 17 of the 22 projected starters. And while signing big-name, big-money unrestricted free agents was once a regular part of their personnel strategy, they’ve gotten far away from that. Only two members of the current roster (kicker John Kasay and defensive end Tyler Brayton) were signed as unrestricted free agents. The rest were either acquired through trade (five), claimed off waivers (four) or signed as street free agents (19, which includes undrafted rookies and guys who were released by their previous teams).

If you think it takes a couple years to evaluate a draft class then take a look at the Panthers 2007 draft evaluation.

2007 NFL Redraft: Three Years Laters, Still Hard to Grade -- NFL FanHouse
8. Jon Beason, LB (Panthers, No. 25 overall): A Pro Bowler in his second season. A classic, old-style 4-3 middle linebacker.

So the Panthers got the 8th best player in the draft AFTER trading back to #25 and getting an extra pick. Very nice. Lastly from our local rag:

2010 NFL Draft Grades: The NFC - CharlotteObserver.com
Bottom Line: Added some quality players and lots of guys you've heard of, but this team could be in major trouble along the defensive line due to its draft approach. Grade: B-

I can't argue with this assessment at this point.

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