One of the biggest off-season joys has been Steve Smith's regular appearance on WFNZ's "The Drive" afternoon talk show to talk about the Carolina Panthers, the team's needs, and their direction moving forward. It's a pleasure to hear Smitty talk because of his candidness, and that was extended this afternoon when he said the Panthers should take Missouri DT Sheldon Richardson with the 14th overall pick.
Acknowledging he knows more about free agency than the draft, Smith didn't pause for a second in answering with the athletic, penetrating under tackle. It's his assertion that the organization needs to do what it takes to retain Dwan Edwards through free agency, while having a player for the future on the defensive line.
While Smitty didn't go into too much detail, he also spoke about some of the failings of the Marty Hurney era, specifically the need to rely on young, unproven players to be NFL starters. Specifically referring to Amini Silatolu, Smith said that the young offensive guard was going to be 'excellent' in time, and believe he can be dominant -- yet Smith acknowledged that a team 'hamstrings' itself when relying on players to start right away.