Panthers Paw Prints
In no particular order here are some post draft musings, some Panther-related and some not so much. It was a crazy draft and I expect there to be plenty of story lines to flush out over the next week. Let's start with a little blurb on an OG from Temple:
Top rookie free agent signings by team | National Football Post
Carolina Panthers: Derek Dennis, OG, Temple Is worth a pick because he moves so well for a 325-pound lineman. Needs to learn to play lower though if he ever hopes to be anything more than a reserve. However, his fluidity on the move says he has a chance to mature into a starter.
We have found you can never have too many guards to choose from. Since we've purged a few in the offseason this kid has a chance.
Funny how a Best Player Available pick gets praise at #9 but then a BPA pick in the 2nd round is questioned because it doesn't fill a need:
The fact that the Panthers didn't select a defensive tackle whatsoever is quite puzzling. I was told by a reliable source to "move on" from mocking Cox to Carolina a few days prior to the draft because the team believed that defensive tackle was not a need. The front office believed in Sione Fua and Terrell McClain, and it had Ron Edwards coming back from injury. That sounds like a huge misevaluation of talent.
The fact is defensive tackle is not a major worry for Rivera no matter how bad the rush defense was last season. I'm inclined to listen.
I love stories like this...kid from down the block goes to the NFL, err Big Cat's block that is
"It was a weird feeling," Bersin said of the times Richardson invited neighbors to join him in his box. "My dad was like, ‘Don’t freak out. It’s a normal game, normal seat. Just have fun.’" "It was awesome," Bersin added. "Unlimited Cokes and hot dogs, whatever you wanted."
Wow...I imagine hanging in JRs box to watch a game left quite the impression on the kid and now he will be on the field wearing the uniform.
Okay...back to the "Pick on the OG pick" story line since its the only pick we can throw darts at:
4. I’m still not sure about Amini Silatolu as a second-round pick. I know that’s about where a lot of draft analysts rated him. And Sports Illustrated’s Peter King, who is one of the best football reporters around, wrote Monday that Silatolu at No. 40 was the "Best Offensive Pick" of the draft. King said Silatolu was a "great value" and should be a starter for a decade. But an offensive guard in the second round? There were greater needs out there for Carolina, particularly on the defensive line. Silatolu provides insurance and might well become a 10-year starter. But I’m not yet convinced.
Okay, we will check back with you in 10 years. Tell you what, let's instead compare Silatolu to the OG that was picked right behind him by the Bills:
Cordy Glenn/T/Buffalo/Pick No. 41 -- The Bills are in desperate need of offensive line help, specifically at tackle. Glenn, who can play as many as four spots on the offensive line, was graded as a first-round choice and will fight for a starting spot in 2012.
Glenn was projected to go higher based on his combine performance but I guess the Panthers don't place as much emphasis on the combine as other teams.
We have another converted QB on the roster, this one moving to TE:
Childers played both tight end and quarterback at Coastal Carolina. He will try to make it in the NFL at the tight end position. Childers was an All-Big South Conference selection. He caught 11 passes for 233 yards and three touchdowns his senior season. His 21.2 yards a catch is a single season school record.
I guess stranger things have happened (or at least been tempted).
I have a hard time buying those who assume LB Jon Beason now slides to the weak side:
Top Picks Analysis: The injuries that ravaged Carolina's linebacker corps in 2011 prompted the team to snare the consensus best prospect at the position in the incredibly instinctive Kuechly with the ninth overall selection. The reigning Butkus Award winner is advanced enough to step right into the middle and push three-time Pro Bowl honoree Jon Beason to the weak side, turning what had been a huge liability last season into a strength.
Considering how much Beason bristled when Mel Kiper suggested the Panthers 'Now have their defensive leader' asking him to move over to WLB would be touchy work to say the least.
Did I mention some people (including Peter King) think Silatolu was actually the Panthers best pick?
Amini Silatolu is a guy that will put the opposition down rather than simply getting in people's way. He likes to bury the defense that is in front of him. That nasty streak is something that pro scouts love, and the Panthers in particular expressed a clear interest in when they drafted him.
The guy does play with attitude, that is very apparent on the tape. Teaming him with Otah could be downright nasty.
The worst secret in Charlotte is Armanti Edwards days returning punts for the Panthers have gone to nil:
"Joe Adams' punt return skills we think are special,'' Hurney said. "When you put the tape on you watch his explosiveness, his vision, the way he runs with the ball, the way he creates, he averages over 16-yards per return which is great. He gives you one less first down to get. There are a lot of positives he brings to the table with his return ability.''
Great punt returners are born, not trained. This kid has the knack for knowing when to cut you just can't train. I'm excited to watch him do his thing already.
Let the last sentence of this blurb sink in:
Charlotte never has had a true national sports superstar. Julius Peppers was big, but he never embraced the community. Larry Johnson was a big deal when the basketball team in town was the Hornets. Steve Smith is a big deal and has spent his entire career with the Panthers. Sam Mills, Kevin Greene and Reggie White were big names, but they joined the Panthers at the end of their careers. Newton has one big advantage on all of them. He’s a quarterback and that means an automatic spotlight. Kerry Collins had that once, but squandered it and lasted less than four seasons with the Panthers. If Newton continues to build on his rookie season and embraces Charlotte, then the city will embrace him. Newton has a chance to be the biggest thing ever in Charlotte, even bigger than Jordan.
Bigger than Michael Jordan coming to Charlotte? Yes, I agree.