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2018 NFL Draft: Examining Carolina Panthers GM Marty Hurney’s draft day trades

Marty Hurney has never been shy about his affinity of wheeling and dealing during the NFL Draft. With the draft only eight days away, I decided to dig deeper into Hurney’s trade tendencies.

Carolina Panthers Minicamp Photo by Steve Dykes/Getty Images

Marty Hurney has never been shy about his affinity of wheeling and dealing during the NFL Draft. During his first stint as the Panthers General Manager, Hurney struck fourteen deals for picks. Seven of the deals were trade ups while the other seven were trade backs. To be clear, these are pick for pick transactions. These deals don’t include trading a 3rd rounder for Greg Olsen or a 7th for Josh McCown. With the draft only eight days away (thank god), I decided to dig deeper into Hurney’s trade tendencies.

Trade backs

2002 NFL Draft

Panthers traded pick 67 to Cincinnati for picks 73 and 145.
  • The Panthers traded back six slots to take Will Witherspoon who had a productive four years in Carolina. The other pick received in this deal became Kyle Johnson who was cut after training camp.

2003 NFL Draft

Panthers traded pick 45 to New England for picks 50 and 120
  • The Panthers traded back five slots to take guard Bruce Nelson. Nelson was out of the league after one year. Pick 120 would get traded to Denver later in the draft. I will have more on that in the next section.

2003 NFL Draft

Panthers traded pick 181 to Miami for picks 226 and 247
  • The Panthers traded a 6th rounder and received two seventh rounders. The picks were used on wide receiver Walter Young and running back Casey Moore.

2005 NFL Draft

Panthers traded pick 45 to Seattle for picks 54, 121, and 126.
  • The Panthers traded back nine slots to draft running back Eric Shelton. Pick 121 was used on quarterback Stefan Lefors who served as a backup for one season. He was released the following year. Pick 126 would later get traded in the same draft to trade up.

2007 NFL Draft

The Panthers traded pick 14 to the Jets for picks 25, 59, and 164
  • The Jets would eventually take Darrelle Revis in this spot, but it’s hard to blame Hurney for executing a trade back. He was able to draft Jon Beason eleven slots later. Beason was a 3 time bowler for the Panthers. Hurney drafted Ryan Kalil at pick 59, which looks like a steal. Kalil is a 5 time bowler and has been one of the most important pieces on their offense for over a decade. Pick 164 was used on LB Tim Shaw who lasted only one year on the team.

2009 NFL Draft

The Panthers traded pick 202 to the Raiders for picks 216 and a 2010 6th rounder (pick 175 in 2010)
  • The Panthers were able to land Captain Munnerlyn after trading back one round with the Raiders. Munnerlyn had five productive seasons in Carolina before he moved on to Minnesota as a free agent in 2014. The former Gamecock returned to the Panthers in free agency in 2017. The 2010 6th round pick, which ended up being pick 175 was used on Greg Hardy. Hardy’s career flamed out due to off field issues, but he was undoubtedly a productive pass rusher in 2012 and 2013.

2010 NFL Draft

The Panthers traded pick 112 for picks 124 and 198.
  • The Panthers added a 6th round pick for moving back twelve slots in the 4th round. After the trade back, they drafted linebacker Eric Norwood. Norwood was mainly a core special teams contributor for the team in two seasons. The 6th round pick (pick 198) was used on oft maligned wide receiver David Gettis.

Trade ups

2003 NFL Draft

The Panthers traded picks 108, 120, and 227 to Denver for pick 82.
  • After receiving pick 120 from the Patriots in a trade back, Hurney decided to flip that pick plus 108 and 227 to move up into the 3rd round. The Panthers selected Ricky Manning at pick 82. Manning was a reliable ball hawk in the secondary. His most notable contribution came in the 2003 NFC Championship game where he picked off three passes.

2004 NFL Draft

The Panthers traded picks 31 and 127 to San Francisco for pick 28.
  • The Panthers moved up three slots in the 1st round to draft corner back Chris Gamble. Gamble was largely underrated during his time in Carolina. Over nine seasons, he made 117 starts, 96 pass breakups, and 27 interceptions.

2005 NFL Draft

The Panthers traded picks 115 and 126 to Green Bay for pick 89.
  • This was the start of Hurney’s trade ups ending badly. Hurney packaged multiple fourth rounders to trade up for Atiyyah Ellison. Ellison was waived during final cuts during his first training camp.

2008 NFL Draft

The Panthers traded picks 43, 109, and a 2009 1st rounder to Philadelphia for pick 19.
  • My stomach still makes me nauseous every time I revisit this trade up. Jeff Otah was a mammoth offensive tackle prospect, but he couldn’t get out of his own way due to weight concerns. Hurney had no business trading a future 1st rounder, but hopefully he learned his lessons for future years right?

2009 NFL Draft

The Panthers traded a 2010 1st rounder to San Francisco for picks 43 and 111.
  • After not having a 1st rounder in the 2009 draft, Hurney decided against his better judgement to trade away another future 1st. Sometimes the best ideas are left undone. The Panthers ended up drafting Everette Brown and Mike Goodson with their two selections. Enough said.

2009 NFL Draft

The Panthers traded a 2011 2nd round pick (pick 33) to New England for pick 89.
  • The trends of Hurney’s trade ups have taken a sharp turn for the worst. This trade up was eventually used to select Armanti Edwards. Yikes. The cherry on top was that Carolina finished with the worst record in the league in 2010, so that 2nd round pick turned out to be pick 33. If there’s any silver lining, the Patriots used the pick on Ras-I Dowling who turned out to be a disappointment.

2012 NFL Draft

The Panthers traded pick 180 and 2013 3rd rounder for pick 103.
  • This was yet another unfortunate outcome for the Panthers. They traded up for edge rusher Frank Alexander who never reached his potential and ran into medical and off field issues.

Conclusion

Hurney had success early in his career with the trade ups for Ricky Manning and Chris Gamble, but the recent trade ups yielded poor results. No franchise has shown an ability to beat the draft. No not even the Patriots. The best method of acquiring more talent is to acquire more picks as this study shows.

The Panthers are currently armed with eight picks in the draft. They have a bevy of needs to address. Let’s hope if Hurney does engage in any trades it’s to stockpile more picks.