Anatomy of a bad team: Panthers failed drafting over 5 years


The Carolina Panthers are a bad team, and it's not too difficult to see why.

It's October and Carolina Panthers fans are casting their eye to the draft. This has become a sorry but all-too-common state of affairs driven by a series of lackluster seasons. To understand why the team keeps failing we need to look at the draft again, but this time casting our eye back at the last five years.

In order to understand where the Panthers went wrong we need a point of comparison. To this end lets compare the Panthers to two organizations. The first is the Seattle Seahawks, regarded as the paragon of sensible drafting and smart moves. This is a team built from the ground up through wise decisions and deep round hits. The second we'll look at is the Miami Dolphins -- another team that has seen some ups and downs, never being truly terrible or extremely good.

For obvious reasons we're leaving out the 2013 class, as it adds nothing to the comparison.

Team drafting comparison 2008-12

Seattle Miami Carolina
Total picks 42 41 41
QB 2 3 3
RB 3 4 3
WR 3 5 5
TE 4 3 1
OL 4 7 7
DL 9 8 7
LB 7 5 5
DB 9 6 9
ST 1 0 1
Starters 13 13 7
Still on team 22 21 14

Carolina hasn't neglected any one position when compared with its peers, they just plain suck at drafting. The story has been the same for the last three seasons where the starters look good on paper but the depth destroys the team's hopes when injuries set in.

The Panthers averaged 1.4 starters per draft class over this period, compared with 2.6 from the other two organizations -- this is the problem. Carolina has a pattern of netting a single starter from their first round pick, then failing to find quality players in the latter part of the draft.

From 2008-12 the Miami Dolphins' record is 38-42, while the Panthers are 35-45 -- fairly close in overall record, similar draft spots, but the Dolphins are trending upwards while Carolina is floundering in mediocrity. This is what happens when only 34-percent of your draft picks remain on the roster after five years.

It takes a touch over one hour and a little initiative to gather this information on why a team has struggled for five years. Hopefully Dave Gettleman has found the same data himself and is asking serious questions about how 27 players were selected and cut without offering anything to the organization. 'Accountability' is more than a boardroom buzz word, and there needs to be more in Charlotte.

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