Items by

Analyzing Carolina’s First Day: Did They Fill Their Needs?

Published: April 26, 2009

commentNo Comments

Here it is, and there it goes once more. The first day of the 2009 NFL Draft has come and gone, and with it, many surprise picks have been set in stone.

But I’ll leave all the pick-by-pick analysis to the people who actually know all the players (or at least pretend that they do).

Instead, I’ll focus on my beloved Panthers and their two picks on this fateful first day.

Let’s start off with the first one that they got, defensive end Everette Brown out of FSU at No. 43.

Not a bad pickup, indeed, it might be a very good one in the long run. Considered by many to be a first-rounder, it was a surprise to many that he fell so low.

Indeed, it may make you wonder that teams forgot about him.

But apparantly not to the Panthers, whose careful watch on this kid made them pick him up, even trading up to do so, giving up next year’s first-rounder to San Francisco for their second- and fourth-round pick.

At the FSU Pro Day in the past few weeks, the Panthers were one of only a few teams that sent their head coach to take a look at their stock. Apparantly, they saw something in him that impressed the scouts and even the head honcho himself.

Some teams saw him transitioning to outside linebacker in the 3-4, much like a certain Demarcus Ware of the Cowboys.

Instead, the Panthers had enough faith in him to draft him so that he might play opposite Peppers, or even replace him when a trade comes knocking.

Oh, and on that topic, a Peppers trade might be worth it. A few NFL Network analysts called this the worst draft in recent memory.

A few first rounders next year might be helpful with all those quarterbacks. Just some food for thought for my “Sack Jake” Carolina brethren.

But anyway, back to the topic at hand.

I liked this Brown draft, he’s got very smooth feet, and is definitely one of the better pass rushers in this year’s draft.

However, I am dissapointed that Conner Barwin didn’t fall to the Panthers. Not only was he a great defensive end at Cincinnati, but he also had a bit of time as a tight end.

His dual role abilities might have been very useful, especially since Carolina doesn’t have a truly good tight end. And no, drafting tight ends in each of the past three fifth rounds doesn’t always solve one’s TE problems.

Which is disappointing, because even if Barwin didn’t work as an end, he could fill a need at the tight end position and help stretch the field for Steve Smith.

Ah, oh well, such is how the draft works, and the Texans (one of my favorite AFC teams) have a real gem playing for them.

Now, onto the Panthers first pick that they had from the start. At number 57, they pick up Sherrod Martin, a safety out of Troy.

Not a bad pick, especially since Carolina’s main defensive issues came from the backfield.

Martin was known for being a very hard hitting guy, always going after the ball carrier and punishing him whenever possible. I can only imagine how wide receivers will feel when going up Chris Harris and Martin, some of the hardest hitting DBs in the game.

Not only that, but now the Panthers have a very young backfield to grow on. Godfrey was a rookie last year; picked up in the third round and started immediately. PLus they have shut-down corner Chris Gamble and Harris, both relatively young guys in the prime of their career.

But let’s be honest. Just because he was drafted as a Safety, it doesn’t mean that he’ll play as one in the pros. Ever since Lucas was released, they’ve been left with a rather glaring hole.

Although Richard Marshall has proven to be a decent corner, he’s more of a nickle corner who only comes in on certain occassions, and with the Martin pick, they should keep it that way.

However, despite the mostly positive draft choice, I feel that another player might have been a superior choice.

Perhaps another D-lineman or an offensive lineman would have served the Panthers better.

Let us not forget that although Carolina has a great line, they are now terribly low on depth.

Tackle Will Beatty out of Connecticut was taken one pick later, and his presence could be enough to keep the injury bug from plaguing the Panthers O-line.

But alas, what’s done is done, and now all we can do is hope that these picks pan out. You can yell at the computer screen all you want, but no matter what you do, the pick won’t go away (sorry Lions fans, enjoy your 3-13 season).

And now that day one is done with, now we must go into the second day where only the most hardcore NFL fan can survive. With just a few more picks left for Carolina, it should be a rather uneventful draft.

But hey, that’s just how I enjoy my off-season. Not a lot of noise and not a lot of changes: team stability all the way.