2012 Carolina Panthers off season review – The Sports Headquarters

2012 Carolina Panthers off season review.

The Cam Newton era has already captivated the fans in Carolina, but guess what, that was a result of poor drafting before that.  As great as Newton could become, and he is well on his way, they still possess the ninth pick in the 2012 NFL Draft for a reason.

Where did they go wrong?  Is it just injuries?  Let’s take a look at the 2012 Carolina Panthers off season review.

2007 Carolina Panthers Draft Results

25 Jon Beason, MLB Miami
45 Dwayne Jarrett, WR USC
59 Ryan Kalil, C USC
83 Charles Johnson, DE Georgia
118 Ryne Robinson, WR Miami of Ohio
155 Dante Rosario, TE Oregon
164 Tim Shaw, LB Penn St
226 CJ Wilson, CB Baylor

This is what you want in a draft, I have nothing but good things to say for the most part, and it is unfortunate that this draft may fall down in the history of time because of the injury to Beason, but they definitely did what fans want and build up the team.

First off there is Beason, who is, when healthy, one of the ten best linebackers in the game.  No, not MLB, but top ten in the league.

Then you have starters in Ryan Kalil and Charles Johnson that are not just average, but very good.

Getting three players that would start on 90% of the teams in the league is a great draft even if Jarrett was a giant bust.

Add in Rosario and Shaw as solid back ups and you have almost the ideal draft.

Expert Grades:

Mel Kiper: B
Pete Prisco: B+
Actual Grade: A

The gem to both Kiper and Prisco seemed to be getting Jarrett in the 2nd round, yet he was the one that hindered this draft grade from being perfect.

2008 Carolina Panthers Draft Results

13 Jonathan Stewart, RB Oregon
19 Jeff Otah, T Pittsburgh
67 Charles Godfrey, FS Iowa
74 Dan Connor, LB Penn State
141 Gary Barnidge, TE Louisville
181 Nick Hayden, DT Wisconsin
221 Hilee Taylor, DE North Carolina
241 Geoff Schwartz, T Oregon
250 Mackenzy Bernadeau, G Bentley

This draft is hard to grade for a couple of reasons:

  1. Jonathan Stewart has never been given the reigns to be the man in Carolina
  2. Jeff Otah sucks.
  3. Charles Godfrey is a starter, but do you give them credit for having one of the worst safeties in the NFL starting?
  4. Dan Connor is a good starter, but injured ALL THE TIME.

Hayden and Bernadeau are still in the league, but their inclusion would be negligible because they are now with other teams.

Where do we start with this?

Stewart is a good back, and I believe he could be a solid starter in the league when he finally gets the chance, most likely next year.

Otah is not good, as we covered earlier and he has been injured basically every season, Godfrey is not good, even if he plays every game, and as we covered with Dan Connor, he is a solid player when he can stay on the field, but that isn’t often.

How do we grade this, as it is mostly incomplete and the under usage, or under needed Stewart doesn’t help.

Expert Grades:

Mel Kiper: B
Pete Prisco: B-
Actual Grade: C-

I give this a passing grade for a couple of reasons.

First because of the upside of Stewart and the play of Connor when healthy, but also because as bad or injured as they have been, they still have gotten a lot of starts out of Otah and Godfrey.  The reason it is not higher?  They traded their 2009 first round pick in order to draft Otah, and while you can’t forecast injuries, you have to get production out of them.

The kicker is they drafted Stewart when they still had DeAngelo Williams on the roster, hell they still have him on the roster, when they had need at QB, OT, and DL also.  They passed on Branden Albert, Duane Brown, Joe Flacco, and Chris Johnson as well as others.

I know people will say: “You just reamed them for drafting a RB,” Well let me as you this, would you rather have Branden Albert and Chris Johnson or Jonathan Stewart and Jeff Otah.  I thought so.

2009 Carolina Panthers Draft Results

43 Everette Brown, DE Florida St
59 Sherrod Martin, DB Troy
93 Corvey Irvin, DT Georgia
111 Mike Goodson, RB Texas A&M
128 Tony Fiammetta, RB Syracuse
163 Duke Robinson, G Oklahoma
216 Captain Munnerlyn, DB South Carolina

Oh yeah, this is why the Panthers started regressing in 2009 and bottomed out in 2010.  They traded a first round pick in 2010 for Everette Brown.  Wait, what?  They traded a first round pick to draft Brown who started the CFB season as a first rounder and had bottomed out falling all the way in to the middle of the 2nd round?  And you think that it is a good idea to trade a first round pick for it?  That pick ended up being the 17th pick in the 2010 draft, so I have to factor that in as well.

The rest of the draft?  They have two starters in Martin and Munnerlyn who they are trying to replace because of ineffectiveness.

The rest of the draft is irrelevant, meaning it makes the grade come down even lower.

Expert Grades:

Mel Kiper: C
Pete Prisco: C+
Actual Grade: D

Not a good draft and what makes it even worse?  They missed on Mike Iupati, Maurkice Pouncey, Bryan Bulaga, Dez Bryant, Tim Tebow (I Kid) amongst others that could have helped out significantly.

Where does this leave them?

6 starters on their roster, 1 on another roster (If Connor starts in Dallas)

Off season:  Haven’t done a ton, but made one good move and one that has you scratching your head.  The Mike Pollack signing was a good one, I like Pollack to slide in and fill the hole left by recently released Travelle Wharton.

They also signed RB Mike Tolbert.  This is perplexing to me, because of the RBs on the roster in Williams and Stewart, they are either preparing to trade one, keeping themselves covered if one of their two main guys go down, or they like Mike Tolbert and knew that with next year’s RB crop being light, pounced on him early.

They have a lot of money left to spend, but there isn’t a ton of top level talent to fill the needs they possess.  With a good amount of playable safeties available I would love to see them bring in one, maybe an OJ Atogwe or Gibril Wilson as well as a solid defensive tackle, Amobi Okoye or Gary Gibson.

No matter how you cut it, the Panthers were on a very good route until their drafts couldn’t fill the needs that were created by injuries and declining play.  Can they continue to recover and rebuild now?


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