Early on Friday morning, Carolina lost a coin toss to Miami that determined who will pick first in the upcoming NFL draft. Since the Dolphins won, they’ll be picking eighth and the Panthers ninth.
So the obvious question to ask is how will this affect Carolina and their draft strategy. Much has been made of how huge of a victory this is for Miami, but I encourage Panthers fans to not sweat this loss.
This will hardly impact the team’s first-round choice and does the Dolphins a lot more good than it does the Panthers bad. The same players at positions of need will be available at the ninth pick due to the difference in needs between the two teams.
Miami appears to be focused on targeting either a tackle, defensive end or a quarterback. None are positions that Carolina would target in the first round, so there’s little to no damage done there. Riley Reiff, Quinton Coples and Jonathan Martin look like the targets at this point.
This also means the Panthers will be paying a lower rookie salary to whoever they make their first draft pick, and while it may not seem like $100, 000 or so will make much of a difference, the Panthers are pressed against the cap and need to spend cautiously.
The loss in the coin toss actually does the team a favor in the second round as well. They’ll now pick before the Dolphins and Bills who are rotating due to their shared record of 6-10.
Had the Panthers won, they’d be picking behind both teams. With the Bills potentially targeting a receiver and the Dolphins a defensive tackle in the second round, this could have spelled disaster as two players high on the team’s board could have disappeared right before they went on the clock.
Carolina’s third-round pick now falls after Buffalo and Miami, but alas, they traded that pick to Chicago, so there’s no harm done there.
It’s pretty evident that this won’t have the negative impact on the Panthers that some are suggesting, so take a deep breath Carolina fans; hopefully, this is one small loss in exchange for a few more wins in 2012.