Checking the Rear View: A Look Back at CSR Pre-Combine 2011

Would Steve Smith have been the deciding factor in the Super Bowl if the Patriots had worked the rumored offseason trade?

This time of year I always wonder who's opinion to trust as far as prospect rankings, rumors and mock drafts. I always find it at least slightly enlightening to look back and see what we can learn from last year in order to extrapolate what might happen this year. So I took a gander back to February 2011 on CSR to see what we were talking about, what our predictions were and to see if we can use any of that info in 2012. Below are some links to those I found interesting, again pre-combine CSR posts.

Remember at this point we were wondering if the Panthers might trade out of the #1 pick because a reported six other teams had Newton ranked #1? I'm thinking a lot more teams had him #1 than six:

Is the storm becoming perfect for the Panthers to trade out of #1? - Cat Scratch Reader
The idea of trading back seemed like a pipe dream, that was until Cam Newton held his private workout for the media and now everyone is getting worked into a tizzy. It first came with the news that (as it stands) there are six teams who have Newton rated as the best player in the 2011 draft, then Newton held his workout and Trent Dilfer was gushing, followed by NFL insider Matt Maiocco mocking Newton to the Panthers at #1, Charles Davis of NFL network said Newton would be a dark horse for the #1 overall pick and now Mel Kiper can boarded the train moving Newton up to #3 overall on in his mock draft (he has the Panthers taking Fairley #1 overall).

Obviously Kiper is not the guru many thinks he is but I think that's already a collective 'Duh' here on CSR. Charles Davis on the other hand seemed to have a better grip on reality. I'm going to keep my ears open for what he has to say...

So look at what other position Rivera was discussing at this point last season and he backed that up with two 3rd round selections:

Ron Rivera addresses media at the NFL Combine - Cat Scratch Reader
Rivera told the media there were '8-10 players' under consideration for the #1 overall pick, specifically mentioning the quarterback and defensive line positions. He went on to say that the Panthers intend to bring Auburn QB Cam Newton to Charlotte for a private visit.

Last year the Panthers first brought in Nick Fairley for a private workout, then Newton so the Michael Brockers visit might not mean anything. Though I wouldn't rule Brockers out for being picked at 8-9 I'm sure the Panthers would rather drop back a few picks before selecting him.

Remember the QB formulas we were batting around last year and Newton really didn't measure up because of his low number of starts and completion %?

A Formula for Drafting QBs That Works? - Cat Scratch Reader
Here's the ones that fail the rule (minus the Wunderlic test score obviously): Failed the rule (due to low starts or completion %): Locker, Kaepernick, Stansi, Newton, Mallet Passed the Rule (No Wunderlic): Gabbert, Ponder, McElroy, Dalton

I guess we need to tweak that formula a bit...

We discussed this topic on Cat Scratch Radio last night but thought I would revisit it. Did Bowers slide to the 2nd round because of his physical (knee issue) AND the fact he didn't participate at the combine to try an alleviate concerns?

Da'Quan Bowers will only lift at the combine - Cat Scratch Reader

I don't really understand the decision by Bowers given that as it stands he's not a lock for a top four spot. It appears he will likely be fighting for that position with Nick Fairley, Patrick Peterson, AJ Green and Cam Newton. For a player who has been regarded by some as 'lazy', and only showing one dominant year in his college career I find it slightly worrisome that he's not willing to show his full suite of skills for scouts. Auburn prospects Nick Fairley and Cam Newton have gone on the record as saying they will 'fully participate' in all drills in Indianapolis.

The guy played all 16 games (6 starts) and had an okay season (see below). If I were him I would have to wonder how much money that decision might have cost me being it was an unwarranted concern (at least to date anyway)

Sacks Interceptions Tackles
G Sacks YdsL Int Yds IntTD Solo Ast Total
2011 - Da'Quan Bowers 16 1.5 7.5 0 0 0 22 3 25

Turns out his only full sack on the season was on our very own Cam Newton...

Remember this? Thank the Lord it did not happen though I'm sure the Patriots wish they had Smitty in the SB, he might have been the difference given all the dropped balls:

Rumor Circulating: Patriots Interested in Steve Smith - Cat Scratch Reader
Anyway if the Patriot fans think we would give Smith up for a 4th rounder I would hope we wouldn't go that cheap unless there is a guy on the board we are just in love with...hence I can see a draft day trade involving Smith but nothing prior to the draft.

A 4th rounder, Ha!

Big Cat was true to his word on this one...

Panthers Reaffirm Plans to Re-Sign All Three Top FA's - Cat Scratch Reader
"I know Mr. Richardson has gotten some bad press lately, but I think those are things that are going to happen in a negotiation," Kalil said, referring to recent reports Richardson was condescending to players during CBA talks. "But at the end of the day, he's definitely somebody that the guys here do like and respect. I know we went through a rebuilding phase here last year, and it might not look good. But the decisions he and Marty made have inspired some guys, and they want to stay here and make it right. "I think with where we are now, guys realize that this organization is set up to go out and get these guys under contract, to keep these free agents. Between that and coach (Ron) Rivera and the staff he assembled, I think a lot of guys are really excited."

It didn't leave us with any cap space this year but I'm confident the Panthers have a 3-5 yr plan they are following that will result in a SB sooner rather than later...

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