This party train keeps right on rolling as we steam towards Thursday. The excitement is palpable as I prepare myself for a week and a half without a voice following our podcasting etc.
We have now reached 2010- the draft that brought us the Jimmy. In time we'll probably look at this as one of the strangest drafts in Panthers history because we got some really valuable players, and some head-scratchers too. I'm not sure what possessed the front office to select two West Coast QBs without knowing what the new coaching staff would run in 2011, but c'est la vie.
Projected top-15 pick
In the locker room (and in public) Marshawn Lynch was becoming a serious liability for the Buffalo Bills. They were in need of another running back so they could trade Lynch, and Spiller gave them the perfect change of pace back to the more bruising Fred Jackson.
Where the Bills went right: They identified their need for a play-maker on offense, and got arguably the best one in the draft.
Where the Bills went wrong: It's tricky to judge a pick this early, but the problem with RBs who rely on speed and elusiveness like Spiller is that they're a mixed bag at the next level. It's all about whether they can make that first tackler miss. If they can, you could wind up with someone like Chris Johnson, if they can't you may have Reggie Bush on your hands.
End Result: The jury is still out on C.J. Spiller, though he had a very promising 2011 season where he battled injury to average 5.2 yards per carry, and add utility in the passing game.
What the Panthers also have to be careful of: Finesse and speed are great, but it's important not to underestimate the power of toughness in the NFL. The one major issue with Spiller is that he tends to get brought down by the first tackler who gets a hand on him, rarely is he able to escape. In terms of top-10 prospects there isn't an equivalent player to Spiller, so there's no direct correlation here.
Second round after the jump
2.40 Miami Dolphins- Koa Misi, DE, Utah
Projected mid-2nd round pick
If there's one thing this process proves it's how important a QB is. The Dolphins have good talent, but because they lack a signal caller they're constantly finding themselves in this 7-12 range where you can't revamp your football team, it's a shame. As for Misi, the 'Phins needed another pass rusher, so they took a small defensive end out of Utah in the hopes to convert him to OLB.
Where the Dolphins went right: They tried to plan ahead and find a player to eventually replace Jason Taylor.
Where the Dolphins went wrong: Bad scouting. This is what happens when you over think the process. Yes, they dodged a bullet not taking Sergio Kindle who has been fraught with injury, but they really reached for Misi hoping they could develop him.
How the Panthers could make the same mistake: The Panthers need to avoid trying to put all their faith in the hands of their coaching staff, even though they worked wonders with Cam Newton. Misi wasn't a project, per se, but he needed a lot of work at the next level. There isn't a comparable player the Panthers would target in the second, but it's a concern nonetheless.