It looks the consensus grade being placed on the Panthers 2001 draft is somewhere between a C and B. Many agree with Mel Kiper and his assessment that the Panthers draft grade long-term will be tied directly to the play of QB Cam Newton. Fair enough I would say. Here's Pete Priscoe evaluation with CBS Sports:
Best pick: Third-round defensive tackle Sione Fua is a power player who will help at a position of dire need.
Third-day gem: Sixth-round linebacker Lawrence Wilson was a productive player at Connecticut who will add speed to the linebacker group.
Analysis: Their draft will be defined by Newton. If he becomes a star, this will be a nice draft. If he busts, heads will roll. I like the pick of two defensive tackles after the Newton pick.
I find it hard to argue with the 'C' grade because I agree when you take these high-risk high-reward guys you just don't know. If half of them pan out your doing great.
Rob Rang is a little more kind...after the jump...
Rob Rang draft grade for the Panthers:
The Panthers drafted eight players this year, but the success or failure of the first one will determine their final grade. With presumably no trade opportunities and no other players worthy of the No. 1 overall selection, the Panthers swung for the fences with Cam Newton as the top pick. There are certainly red flags with Newton, but as the NFL Draft proved -- when only four Tigers were drafted (Newton, Nick Fairley and seventh-rounders Zach Clayton and Lee Ziemba) -- Auburn's ride to the BCS Championship was largely based on Newton's astounding physical talents and poise despite mounting pressure on and off the field. In a division featuring Drew Brees, Matt Ryan and Josh Freeman, the Panthers' only chance at success was to find their own franchise quarterback. Other than Newton, the Panthers added two underrated defensive tackles in Terrell McClain (South Florida) and Sione Fua (Stanford) in the third round. The club took advantage of its day three selections with talented (if troubled, injured) cornerback Brandon Hogan (West Virginia), playmaking wideout Kealoha Pilares (Hawaii) and an athletic, productive linebacker inLawrence Wilson (Connecticut), among others.
Sticking with CBS Sports Josh Katzowitz says we didn't necessarily clear up the QB situation in Carolina with the drafting of QB:
1. The Panthers still have no idea about their quarterback situation – and about their direction in general: It feels like Carolina HAD to take Cam Newton with the No. 1 pick, and if the Panthers hadn’t, Newton could have fallen all the way until the middle of the first round. So, Carolina has taken a quarterback in the second round (Jimmy Clausen) and a quarterback in the first round (Newton) in back-to-back years. Are they any better now than they were three days ago? Probably not. Are they actually in a worse spot than they were three days ago? Quite possibly.
How in the world are the Panthers in a worse spot? I would have liked to hear his explanation on that one.
John Dove with Mocking the Draft thought the Panthers draft was a B:
B-The jury is out on Cam Newton but the rest of the draft was full of solid picks at positions of need. The defensive tackle position was a black hole so they added both McClain and Fua who will complement each other. I think the Lawrence Wilson pick could end up being a steal. Lee Ziemba doesnt have much upside but he is a good leader that could back up all offensive line position.
The Panthers definitely went for need with a number of picks.