With Rounds 2 and 3 of the 2019 NFL Draft over, there’s a lot to reel in from the Carolina Panthers’ latest selections. Marty Hurney addressed additional needs on the offensive line (which came at a steep cost) and found a potential long-term backup for Cam Newton. Were these picks the smartest move the Panthers could’ve made?
Assessing Greg Little
Carolina gave people mixed emotions when they decided to trade up to No. 37 to grab offensive tackle Greg Little in exchange for their Nos. 47 and 77 picks. With so much talent in the 2019 class, this could’ve been a costly mistake. Aside from the pass rush, which they implemented in the first round with Brian Burns, the Panthers were in dire need of a true left tackle. While trading away additional picks in the second and third round is risky, the Panthers felt an urge to nab one of the best tackles in the draft.
There’s no question that Little has second round talent, if not first. His sloppiness and finesse blocking was an issue in his college career, but these are things that can be cleaned up. He has a build that bulk up and add strength. He has good hand-coordination and arm length.
The addition of Little gives Ron Rivera options and stability on the offensive line. With Taylor Moton more confident on the right side and Daryl Williams’ contract set to expire at the end of the season, the Panthers needed a promising left tackle to protect Newton. Had the Panthers waited, Little, as well as any of the other tackles, could’ve been gone. The Panthers knew they had a need and a filled an immediate roster spot. I think Little will pay off long-term, which makes the trade worth it.
Will Grier offers insurance
Last season spiraled when Newton’s throwing shoulder began to give him issues, resulting in him being benched the last two regular season games in 2018. Carolina never had a secure backup in Taylor Heinicke and Kyle Allen, who were often called late in games to throw a hail mary. With the No. 100 overall pick, the Panthers gave themselves that much needed insurance when they selected quarterback Will Grier.
Grier was viewed as a bit of a dark horse this draft. Some experts suspected he could’ve been a potential first-rounder, but due to lack of development, he fell. Many question if Grier’s success at West Virginia was a benefit of the simplicity of his offense, but there’s no denying Grier has an arm and is confident. With Newton still in rehab for his right shoulder, having a promising backup is key. This selection could show to pay off sooner than later, if things don’t go smoothly for Newton’s rehabbing. Always prepare for the unpredictable, which is exactly what Hurney did.
Overall, Hurney and the Panthers played smart in this year’s draft and went after players who will benefit them long-term.