My choice for the Panthers first overall pick is Fairley. Most likely many of you have heard why Fairley is a monster, and how he dominates college football. This is something most of us can agree on, but the main argument against Fairley has been a certain wide receiver that is also available. AJ Green. AJ Green is a great talent, and if we do draft him I won't be too disappointed. I just feel like Fairley is of greater need and has the talent to support picking him #1 overall. This post isn't meant to praise Fairley or trash Green, my purpose is to show why the Panthers don't need Green. My reasons after the jump.
David Gettis and Brandon Lafell.
Although it might not seem like it, our two rookie receivers had good years. And yet I continuously hear they can not be number one receivers in the league and we need AJ Green to take Smitty's spot. My argument is that Lafell or Gettis are both capable of being number one receivers, and will allow Smith to move into the slot faster than if we were to draft Green and wait for him to develop.
Both were apart of one of the worst offenses in the history of the NFL, with some of the most inconsistent QB play ever. Here are both of their stats:
David Gettis: 37 rec 508 yards 3 TD
Brandon Lafell: 38 rec 468 yards 1 TD
It doesn't seem like much, but you have to keep in mind these two were rookies still getting used to the NFL. Just to put these numbers in perspective, here are some rookie year stats for some of the number one WR's in the league:
Reggie Wayne: 27 rec 345 yds 0 TD
Terrell Owens: 35 rec 520 yds 4 TD
Chad Ochocinco: 28 rec 329 yds 1 TD
Brandon Marshall: 20 rec 309 yds 2 TD
Hines Ward: 15 rec 246 yds 0 TD
Roddy White: 29 red 446 yds 3 TD
And of Course Smitty: 10 rec 154 yds 0 TD
all stats from Espn.com
So what does this mean? It means rookie receivers should not be expected to enter into the league and start making plays. It means an average rookie year still allows you to be a number one receiver in the league. It also means that our two receivers out-performed many of these current starters (excluding one soon to be Hall of Fame Player) while playing in a worse situation.
Including Lafell and Gettis, only two of these receivers were picked later than the third round. One is of course Gettis, who was picked in the sixth, the other being Marshall who was picked in the fourth. So Gettis played better than almost all of these players while being picked, on average, 4 rounds later.
I've heard that Gettis and Lafell shouldn't be counted on to be number one receivers. Gettis because he was inconsistent, and Lafell because he is only a possession receiver. But those are hardly good enough reasons. Tell me one part of our offense that was consistent before you blame Gettis for being inconsistent. And Lafell, there have been possession receivers that were also number one guys. Hines Ward is one I mentioned above, another could be Marvin Harrison. With good route running, speed isn't all that important, all that matters is that the receiver gets open.
These two guys have shown flashes of great ability, and they will get better.