No, not the baseball kind. The NFL Draft kind. You know."Wow. That guy's really dropping. Can't understand why. Do you think he might make it to our pick? Boy, I hope so"
More than once, Panther fans have found themselves saying that. Unfortunately, Panther officials were saying the same thing. Indeed, "that player' has made it to our spot more than once. We’re not just talking about the guys who drop a spot or two here. These are the guys that go down the big slicky-slide. It can rightly be considered a reason to be happy and celebrate when you consider you’re getting a steal of a pick.
That is, until you look at the records:1997 NFL Draft: Rae Carruth falls to #27
There was a time when Carruth was expected to be a top five pick. Several experts had him being the first receiver taken. Speed, hands, route-running, Carruth seemed to have it all But then, for whatever reason, teams started passing on him. Ike Hilliard, Yatil Green, Reidel Anthony...those names came off the board, but not Carruth, not until the Panthers at #27, and they couldn't believe their luck.
Only later, did the issue of "character concerns" come to light. If the Panthers knew anything about those, they ignored them. What resulted was the darkest chapter in the team's history books. It's a story that still to this day makes owner Jerry Richardson quiver with rage (and rightly so)2000 NFL Draft: Rashard Anderson falls to #23
He was 6-2, 204, ran a 4.48 forty had played both safety and corner and had put on an impressive performance at the Senior Bowl. Although not as highly rated as Carruth, there were still a number of folks who thought Anderson would be gone by the time the Panthers picked. The team itself was looking at trading down, but when the pick rolled around and Anderson was there, coach George Seifert (who'd been impressed by Anderson's Senior Bowl show) was happy.
“We felt the pick was more valuable than what we would have received in return," said Seifert. Personnel guy Jack Bushofsky chimed in that the panthers had rated Anderson as a mid-round pick and graded him higher than Deltha O'Neal, whom the Broncos had taken at #15.
Just two years later, Anderson's career was pretty much over.
He'd been decent, but overall disappointing. For the 2000 and 2001 seasons in which he played, Anderson notched only one interception, the only one he'd ever have. He was suspended a full year for drug use prior to the 2002 season (meaning that it wasn't his first offense). There were conditions that Anderson had to meet in order to be reinstated for the 2003 season. He didn't meet them, and was suspended for another year.
Reinstated after the 2003 season, Anderson was cut. No one else took a flier, and one writer noted that Anderson "liked hitting the bong more than he liked hitting receivers".2009 NFL Draft: Everette Brown falls to #43
This is the first story where the Panthers actually traded up
, and in doing so gave their 2010 first rounder to the 49ers (more on that later). The rationale was to have a backup plan should things not work out with Julius Peppers. It's unlikely Brown would have fallen to the Panthers next draft spot, but at least the Panthers kept that and used it to draft safety Sherrod Martin.
A year later, Brown is a decent player, but I doubt even the biggest homer would say he's a replacement for Julius Peppers. At this point, Brown isn't even a starter. He's a situational rusher. Say what you want about how nice a guy brown is (and indeed he is) but teams don't trade first round picks to get situational rushers.
A bust? Maybe not, but a disappointment for what the team expected? So far, sadly, yes.2010 NFL Draft: Jimmy Clausen falls to #48
This is the one that seemed the most improbable of all. More than one expert had Clausen rated as the best QB in the draft. Few mocks had him drafted lower than the top ten, and pretty much no one foresaw him falling out of the first round.
But there he went. The Panthers tried to trade up for him even before he fell to them, but the asking prices were just too high. Turned out not to be necessary. When the Panthers turn to choose finally rolled around, he was ready to go. He even chose uniform number '2' to commemorate his fall to the second round, and set out to show the rest of the league just how wrong they'd been.
That particular project is, sadly, on hold at the moment.
While there have been signs of life, and it's still way too early to write Clausen off, the truth of the matter is that he's yet to show anyone a definite reason why they should regret passing on him. Does he still have a chance to do that? Absolutely, but his skill set is better suited to a West Coast Offense than the one the Panthers run.
The possibility exists that a new staff may choose that as their mode of attack, and if they do Clausen will benefit, but that's still an unknown at this point. Regardless of what happens with Clausen though, you can understand why, when I hear draft analysts talking about a guy falling to a spot where the panthers might take him, I quote the bowl of petunias from "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy".
"Oh no. Not again"
Speaking of which...
Edited by Mr Scot, 09 November 2010 - 02:51 AM.