SPARTANBURG, SC - AUGUST 03: A helmet of the Carolina Panthers on the ground during training camp at Wofford College on August 3, 2011 in Spartanburg, South Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Putting a list like this together was painful at times, but I felt it was necessary in light of my desire to post a future best draft picks ever article. As always, these rankings were completely subject to my own imperfect evaluations. Many of you will disagree with this list, and that is fine. In fact, when you disagree, I will listen(read) with an open mind, and who knows, you might just convince me that your list is better. Either way, I always enjoy friendly banter and healthy debate. Tactful criticism is absolutely welcome, but condescension is not. See you on the other side.
10. DE Chuck Wiley 3rd Round 1998 Draft
The Panthers second pick in the '98 draft spent two uneventful seasons with the Panthers. Wiley's entire rookie season was spent on injured reserve and he showed little promise the following season when he failed to record a single sack after starting all sixteen games. He was promptly released, and was a non factor the rest of his career.
The Panthers could have picked any one of the following players in the third round: C Olin Kreutz, LB Jeremiah Trotter, RB Ahman Green, or WR Hines Ward.
9. WR/KR Armanti Edwards 3rd Round 2010 Draft
Some of you may not like the fact that Edwards is on this list simply because his career with the Panthers has yet to end. I respect that opinion, but I personally couldn't leave him off the list because of how little he's impacted this team thus far. His place on this list was also affected by the fact that the Panthers gave up the first pick of the second round in order to move up to take him in the third round.
How different would this Panthers team look now if they had moved up to select a different project by the name of Jimmy Graham, who was selected six spots later.
8. G/C Bruce Nelson 2nd Round 2003 Draft
Nelson only started one of the fifteen games he played in during his disappointing two season career with the Panthers. In fact, those were the only two years he spent in the NFL because of the severity of his hip injury.
Imagine if the Panthers would have selected WR Anquan Boldin or DE Osi Umenyiora instead.
7. DE Everette Brown 2nd Round 2009 Draft
Brown flashed at times, but he was unable to put it together. It's a shame, because the Panthers gave up a future first round pick in order to select him in the second round.
The Panthers should have selected DE Connor Barwin, who was taken just three spots later by the Texans.
6. WR Dwayne Jarrett 2nd Round 2007 Draft
Jarrett is further proof of how difficult it can be to stumble upon a steal in the second round of the NFL Draft.
The Panthers should have selected WR Steve Smith, his more polished teammate at USC.
5. RB Eric Shelton 2nd Round 2005 Draft
Shelton spent his rookie season on injured reserve after breaking his foot, and never did much of anything after that. By my estimation, he was the worst second round pick the Panthers ever made.
WR Vincent Jackson was still available when we picked Shelton. Ouch!
4. RB Tim Biakabutuka First Round 1996 Draft
I hate to put Tim this high on my list because the talent was there, but he couldn't stay healthy in his six year Panther career.
RB Eddie George, WR Marvin Harrison, and LB Ray Lewis were on the board when the Panthers selected TB. Triple Ouch!!!
3. DT Jason Peter First Round 1998 Draft
This list has a recurring theme of injury shortened careers, and Peter was no exception. Like Biakabutuka, Peter actually could have enjoyed a solid career with the Panthers had he not suffered a debilitating neck injury.
The Panthers could have had WR Randy Moss or OG Alan Faneca instead.
2. CB Rashard Anderson First Round 2000 Draft
Anderson's two season career with the Panthers would be his only time spent in the NFL. Sadly, drugs were more important to him than validating his first round selection by the Panthers.
LB Keith Bullock anyone?
1. WR Rae Carruth First Round 1997 Draft
I can't imagine any future Panther draft pick will ever supplant this guy's place on my list or any similar list. We all know what he did, and I'm not about to revisit the carnage he left behind. I don't place any blame on the Panthers, especially in light of the fact that Carruth was well thought of at the University of Colorado. He never displayed a violent side, was good with kids, and was a loyal teammate. The bottom line is this: Selfishness is no respecter of persons, and it has the power to destroy whoever gets in its way. You can be sure of that. Carruth is living proof, and so are we.