Who am I to judge you ask? Well that’s a good question; I am in fact an Englishman who has loved Football for at least ten years. I have almost no knowledge of the history of football before then, no appreciation of the classic dynasties, hall of fame players or in fact any historically significant figure within our beloved sport. My writing style is sporadic, and my professional writing experience is limited to travel articles for a German hostel chain operating out of Berlin. My credentials, clearly, are obvious as is my love an adoration of the Panthers highlighted by my insistence on my wife waiting three months for our Honeymoon because the Carolina Panthers don’t play in July. I digress; let’s examine these players who have vexed me greatly. Firstly a couple of stipulations- I'm not going to be looking at players who have displayed even a glimmer of potential so sorry J-Kizzle if you want to go off on Amini Silatolu you’ll have to write you own article! Secondly this is the only time you’ll see the name Armanti Edwards because frankly I prefer my dead horses well… dead.
No 5: Terrell McClain, Defensive Tackle- South Florida. Drafted 65th overall in the 2011 NFL Draft
Sione Fua, Defensive Tackle- Stanford. Drafted 97th overall in the 2011 NFL Draft
In the first on many many curveballs number five on my list is actually two players, the original double dip at defensive tackle. The undersized McClain, 6 foot, 300 pounds got off to a phenomenal start as a Carolina Panther when he decided to not report to the rookie minicamp due to a dispute over offset language in his contact. Hey Terrell- you were a third round pick drafted in the first year of the new rookie pay scale, your options are kind of limited! This bad start was followed up by a rookie season in which McClain managed 12 starts registering a whole one sack, half of his career total to date. McClain was promptly cut following his rookie year to make way for the ever solid Dwan Edwards.
Sione Fua, 6-foot-1, 310 pounds was equally inept as a Panther playing poorly at defensive tackle and guard. Yes that’s right, Fua was the first example of the coaching staff being reluctant to cut ties with a failed prospect. Fua at least managed to stick around into his third year as a Panther amassing a brilliant ZERO sacks during his time, not overly surprising given he was more of a nose tackle but I just wanted to highlight it. Fua currently resides on the Cleveland Browns roster…. These two guys were huge disappointments but they come in at number 5 because they sure do make you appreciate Star Lotulelei and KK Short don’t they?
No 4: Brandon Hogan, Cornerback- West Virginia. Drafted 98th overall in the 2011 NFL Draft.
Oh look- it’s another entry from the 2011 draft, spoiler alert- it’s not the last. Outside of the awesome Cam Newton none of the players taken in the 2011 draft remain on the team. You can see what NFL.com's draft profile for Hogan had to say here: National Football League: NFL Draft 2011 - Brandon Hogan. Ouch, well we were warned. Sadly for the Panthers it was Hogan’s durability that saw his career with the team derailed. Hogan was drafted despite tearing his ACL in December 2010. Further knee injuries in August of his rookie year led to a visit to the PUP list and only three total games for the Panthers. We ultimately washed our hands of Hogan following his rookie year, though our loss was the Winnipeg Blue Bombers gain. He made me very weary of Josh Norman- lucky for us lightning didn't strike twice.
No 3: Joe Adams, Wide Receiver- Arkansas. Drafted 104 overall in the 2012 NFL draft.
Ah Joe, we had such high hopes for you coming out of college. Adams was a popular choice on CSR due to his dynamic ability as a punt returner- not exactly an area the Panthers have historically excelled at. Adams was the answer! Adams was to be our saviour! Adams was terrible with serious ball security issues! Two lost fumbles against the New York Giants signalled the beginning of the end of Adam’s short Carolina Career. Sadly, he has never been able to live up to his billing and has bounced around the American and Canadian leagues without finding a long term home. He makes the list because like many others I actually believed he would be our version of Devin Hester, how stupid I feel now.
No 2: Edmund Kugbila, Cyclist- Valdosta State. Drafted 108th in the 2013 NFL Draft
You thought he was going to be number one didn’t you? For all of Kugbila’s injury woes and all the time he spent warming up on a bike he doesn’t make number one. Edmund Kugbila was a true ‘who in the name of all things is this guy’ pick. Drafted in the 4th round expectations were very quickly lowered for Big Ku when a devastating hamstring injury side-lined him for his entire career. Well ok so that’s not entirely accurate, a series of hamstring injuries would lead to his placing on Injured Reserved in his rookie season. Following extensive rehabilitation Kugbila then injured his back which would require surgery and force him to miss what would be his final season with the team. Kugbila didn't make a single appearance for the Panthers and understandably the front office cut ties. The fact that he was cut to make room for Chas Alecxih doesn't bode well for his future in professional football. Sadly for us, Kugbila’s greatest achievement might have been a hilarious goodbye post from our very own BW Smith.
No 1: Lawrence Wilson, Linebacker- Connecticut. Drafted 166th in the 2011 NFL Draft.
So here we are. The purpose of this exercise was to show the players who have disappointed me the most in recent drafts. Wilson is number one on this list not because he failed to live up to any expectations as a player, 6th rounder’s rarely work out (don’t come here spouting that New England Devil-spawn name on my article!!). No, Wilson is number one because he failed to live up to my expectations as a Panther. Three days after being signed to our Practice squad Wilson was cited for Marijuana possession and speeding and was promptly cut. Whatever your personal feelings on this are I find it truly ridiculous that a professional football would make such a boneheaded mistake days after being given a life line in a professional career. Wilson like many on this list has bounced around trying unsuccessfully to find a permanent football home. The 27 year old has yet to register a single measured statistic in professional football and makes number one on my list for wasting his chance with us and being reckless whilst he was at.
Dave Gettleman hasn't had a long time with us, but his drafts show real promise and the legitimate possibility that we may actually be able to build through the draft, hone our own players and a establish a lasting chemistry on our team. If this year’s draft class turn out anything like last years, the players listed above and the many other failed Panthers from recent years who didn't make this list will all be forgotten.