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Mr. Scot

Not-So-Great Moments in Panthers History

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Everybody makes mistakes, but the really bad ones are the ones that you make over and over again.

Sadly, in the case of the panthers, there are a few of those to be chronicled.

In the next few posts, I'll be covering some of those moments in Panthers history that a lot of us would really like to forget, as would the team.

Specifically, I'm going to target those areas where the mistakes have happened repeatedly because it's those moments that really make me cringe when I see them coming again.

To begin...

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Anytime the Panthers come to a spot in the draft where there are two highly touted players at a position of need, I grit my teeth. Why? Because history hasn't been kind.

Consider the following choices:

1995 NFL Draft: Targeted Kerry Collins at #5 rather than taking Steve McNair at #1

The Panthers front office was thrown into a tizzy when a rumor leaked that the Oilers would take Collins. If only it had been true. The Panthers would have taken McNair had Collins gone to Houston. Oh, how different might the franchise had been if only Houston had saved us from ourselves. Sadly, the next year wasn’t much better.

1996 NFL Draft: Selected Tshimanga Biakabutuka over Eddie George at #8

When asked if he had any questions about Biakabutuka's durability, then-Panther GM Bill Polian curtly replied "None" (doh) Biakabutuka gave the Panthers their first significant holdout. A few games in, he also looked like he had given them a serious running threat, but it wasn’t to be. Injuries derailed his career before it began, injuries that might conceivably have been avoided had he actually been in camp.

Biakabutuka himself has landed on his feet. He’s now a successful businessman in Charlotte. Not quite as simple was the story of his agents, Carl and Kevin Poston. After other high profile foul-ups and general shenanigans, both have been de-certified by the NFL. Not sure what they’re doing these days, but it probably involves lying to somebody.

1998 NFL Draft: Selected Jason Peter at #14 over Vonnie Holliday

Personnel chief Dom Anile had told Holliday that if his name was on the board when the Panthers pick came up, he'd write it down on the pick card and dance on the table. Having seen Anile, that's a spectacle I'd just as soon have missed, but it might have been worth it to get Holliday rather than Jason Peter.

Peter was the first player ever given Tim Krumrie's "handfighting drill"; now a standard part of the annual NFL Combine for defensive linemen; it was this performance that was said to have convinced Anile to take Peter instead (thanks a lot, Tim) Both Jason and his brother Christian washed out of the NFL. Neither was exactly a model citizen.

2002 NFL Draft: Selected DeShaun Foster over Clinton Portis at #34

In fairness, they did make the right choice in Round One when they went for Julius Peppers over Joey Harrington. It was the Skipper connection (Kelly Skipper, son of Panthers RB coach Jim Skipper, then a UCLA assistant) that made this one happen. Skipper's been a good RB coach overall, but this is one where I wish he'd told his son to butt out.

It’s fair to note that Foster showed promise early on and played a part in the Panthers 2003 Super Bowl run. It’s even been postulated that had the Panthers used Foster more in that game rather than Stephen Davis 9whom the Patriots generally handled) they might have won. Also true that Portis has gone on to become a colossal goof, a locker room distraction and a guy who just generally doesn’t know when to shut his trap.

With that said, there’s no comparing the career numbers between the two :(

2007 NFL Draft: Selected Dwayne Jarrett at #45 over USC teammate Steve Smith

Don Gregory has had fewer whiffs as head of the Panthers scouting department than his predecessors, and it's true that Jarrett fit what the Panthers needed better than Steve Smith II. Even with those factors in mind though, the results speak for themselves.

The much-debated Jarrett first made a name as an object of Steve Smith’s anger. Smitty told him he needed to be watching film rather than talking to reporters. That criticism turned out to be prophetic. Jarrett essentially drank, partied and lazied his way out of the league. Since his release after a DUI, no one's come knocking on his door.

Obviously, these aren't the only drafting mistakes the Panthers have made. Every team makes their fair share (Think the Patriots would like to take back their choice of Laurence Maroney over DeAngelo Williams?) Still hurts though :(

But wait. There's more...

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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...

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And here we come to the strategy that has caused the most consternation amongst Panther fans of late.

Marty Hurney learned the GM trade from Bobby Beathard, a guy who had a penchant for making trades, including trade that gave away future first round picks. And while Hurney may not quite be the trader that Beathard was, he's made his share. Pre-Hurney, the Panthers did some trades too. Here are some of the ones fans wish they hadn't.

1998 Draft, Round One

Panthers got: DT Sean Gilbert (franchise player)

Redskins got: #5 Overall Pick, traded to Saints who used it to draft Ricky Williams.

With pick obtained from Saints, Redskins got: Champ Bailey; parlayed into more picks, including the one used to draft all-pro OT Chris Samuels.

This one hurts, but it doesn't end there. Read on.

1999 Draft, Round One

Panthers got: Gilbert

Redskins got: #12 pick, which was traded to the 49ers, then from there to the Jets

Jets got: DL Shaun Ellis at #12, DE John Abraham taken one pick later

Few chapters in team history deserve the facepalm as much as the Sean Gilbert trade. It's not that Gilbert was awful, but he certainly wasn't worth two first round picks. And look at the players those picks turned into.

Can't blame Marty Hurney for this one, mind you, but it's still a painful memory for Panther fans :(

2008 Draft, Rounds One and Two

Panthers got: #19 pick, used to draft OT Jeff Otah

Eagles got: #43 pick, traded to Minnesota who took S Tyrell Johnson; with their own pick at #59, Eagles take WR DeSean Jackson

Here begin the Hurney trades. In fairness, Otah has made an impact, as has Jonathan Stewart, but now neither is healthy. Had the Panthers not made the move the move or just drafted at #13, they still could have been in a position to get Matt Forte or DeSean Jackson in the second round. Either could have filled a need.

2009 Draft, Round One

Panthers got: Otah

Eagles got: #28 pick, traded to Buffalo who took C Eric Wood; Eagles also traded up to take WR Jeremy Maclin

The overall impact of the player taken at the Panthers spot isn't so much the story here. The bigger story is what they did in the next round.

2009 Draft, Round Two / 2010 Draft, Round One

Panthers got: 2009 #43 pick, used to select DE Everette Brown

49ers got: 2010 #17 pick, used to select G Mike Iupati

Players that still would have been available had the Panthers drafted at #17 include OL Maurice Pounkey, WR Demaryius Thomas, DT Dan Williams and DT Jared Odrick.

As mentioned above, the Panthers didn't pick till #48, where they took Clausen. Notre Dame teammate Golden Tate was taken further down, as was DT Terrance (Mount) Cody. The Panthers later filled their receiver needs by taking Brandon LaFell, among others (read on).

2010 Draft, Round Three

Panthers got: #89 pick, used to select WR Armanti Edwards

New England got: 2011 2nd round pick, currently slated to be in the top five picks of the second round.

This is another case where the overall jury is still out, but with that said, Armanti Edwards has only been active for a single game. Even in that game he saw only minimal action. Could he be a star player of the future? Once he gets his "legs under him", yes, but when the Panthers traded next year's second rounder to get him, I don't think they had in mind that they'd have to wait till next year to see him make an impact.

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And there you have it. Some of the worst moments in Panthers management history :(

This shouldn’t be taken to say that the Panthers are entirely incompetent. There are times when the Panthers have been in these situations and come out grinning.

Likewise, it must be remembered that every team makes mistakes, and plenty of them. This includes teams with reputations for being well-managed like the Steelers, Eagles and Patriots.

Relatively speaking, the Panthers have done better than many teams, especially since Don Gregory took over the reins of the draft from Tony Softli.

And yes, I still consider Marty Hurney a good general manager. And I believe he will still be the GM of this team next year and will be the guy who selects our next head coach.

But nobodys perfect, and until the team is more consistent, each of the above situations will continue to make me nervous :willy_nilly:

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Depressed yet? :(

The 2010 Season will certainly go down as a "not so great moment" too, sadly.

But I am optimistic for the future.

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Truth is anyone who's closely followed any NFL team for as long as I've followed the Panthers could likely come up with a similar list for that organization.

One of the hallmarks of "Fan Think" is that the turf is always greener in the opposing stadium.

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The 2008 draft IMO is still a very good one from the Panthers, I think we did excellent in it. now what came after is a different story, but I can't fault them for that draft which IMO is one of the Panthers best to date.

I think one reason Otah is taking so long to come back is why risk getting a more serious injury in a wasted season? imo at this point I'd rather have Otah wait to come back till next season like TD, and as for the Running game I think Stewart will do a lot better with an improved O-line.

I just really hope the decisions made by Jerry and Hurney don't cost us DeAngelo, because that will hurt, yes it might have been inevitable that one may go at some point but I'd much rather us keep both.

As far as Clausen goes, IMO he has bust written all over him, but in all fairness that wont be know till next year.

also at this point if Edwards ever becomes worth that 2nd round pick that we gave up in next years draft I'll get his name tattooed on my right arm

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Truth is anyone who's closely followed any NFL team for as long as I've followed the Panthers could likely come up with a similar list for that organization.

One of the hallmarks of "Fan Think" is that the turf is always greener in the opposing stadium.

if your looking into the Saints, Patriots, Colts, Ravens and Steelers, then yes it is greener over there.

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if your looking into the Saints, Patriots, Colts, Ravens and Steelers, then yes it is greener over there.

If you're looking at Boise State, it's bluer.

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