How the Panthers Should Learn From Others- 2008 Draft

Keith Rivers is a solid starter, but doesn't make a huge impact. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)

The 2008 draft arguably the most momentous in Carolina Panthers history when we look back on it. Not because Marty Hurney pulled the trigger on a trade that landed the Panthers Jeff Otah, or in taking Jonathan Stewart 13th overall, but in a trade that never happened. Shortly following the draft there was credible information coming out of Kansas City saying the Panthers and Chiefs had a trade agreed to that would have had Carolina move up to the 5th overall pick to select QB Matt Ryan, however the Falcons surprisingly selected him 3rd and Carolina waited. Fast forward four years and if that trade took place it's likely John Fox is still the head coach, and we'd never gotten Cam Newton. It's remarkable to think about.

1.9 Cincinnati Bengals- Keith Rivers, OLB, USC
Projected top 15 pick
At this point in time the Bengals were set on offense with Carson Palmer, Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmanzadeh, but their defense was woefully far behind. Rivers was a pick designed to fill their holes and give them a reliable starter on defense who they could count on for 10 years. It was never designed to be a splashy pick, but a sensible one- something the Bengals weren't normally known for.

Where the Bengals went right: They needed a reliable player, and they got one.

Where the Bengals went wrong: This was a situation where playing it too safe really bit Cincinnati. Keith Rivers is a serviceable outside linebacker, but he's not a top player at his position and doesn't have an impact on the game. Like our own James Anderson he's reliable, but nothing stellar- unlike Anderson he was taken two rounds early. There were two players on the board at the 9th pick who had higher grades, OT Ryan Clady and CB Leodis McKelvin went in the next three picks and have had much larger impacts for their respective teams.

End result: Rivers is a decent outside linebacker... and nothing more.

How the Panthers could make the same mistake: This is a situation where safety isn't the best move, and in this way taking someone like Jonathan Martin with the 9th pick would be an error. Yes, the Carolina Panthers need another offensive tackle moving forward, and Martin is the safest in the draft after Matt Kalil- however he will not be a big impact player at the position, even if he's a serviceable starter for the next decade.

Second round after the jump

2.40 New Orleans Saints- Tracy Porter, CB, Indiana
Projected mid-2nd round pick
The Saints were looking for help in the secondary, especially those who could make a big impact and generate turnovers. To this end the selection of Porter made a lot of sense. While there was talent like Matt Forte and DeSean Jackson taken later, if did make sense to take Porter at this spot.

Where the Saints went right: They got an integral piece of their Superbowl run, and a player who made a difference on the field.

Where the Saints went wrong: The one big knock on Porter was that he didn't show an affinity to do the little things that would turn a good cornerback into a great one. They ended up getting a solid player, but one who was more athlete than cerebral player.

End result: The Saints parted ways with Porter this year, and he's now with Denver.

How the Panthers could make the same mistake: If there's one player who has the physical skills, but needs to fine tune his ability it's UNC's Zach Brown. An OLB with speed and athleticism for days, but he's a solid 2nd round pick due to poor tackling technique, and lack of awareness. If Brown can work on these things he could be great, if not he'll be an average linebacker- like Porter is at corner

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