In case you haven’t noticed we’ve been going back over the 2008, 2009, and 2010 draft classes of each franchise and assigning each pick a grade. Which team is up next? Well, that’s the Carolina Panthers.
Each pick between the 2008 and 2010 draft classes has been given a grade between +2.0 and -2.0 (in 0.5 increments) that depends upon:
• Where they were drafted
• Their performance
• Their contribution (how many snaps their team got out of them)
• Other factors, such as unforeseen injuries and conditions that could not have been accounted for
Let’s take a look at how Carolina has drafted.
+2.0: You’ve just found Tom Brady in the 6th round
They didn’t, but they’re happy enough to have “stumbled” upon Cam Newton with the top pick in 2011.
+1.5: Getting much more than you bargained for!
Greg Hardy, DE (175th overall pick in 2010): Incredible to think that Hardy would fall to the sixth round despite projections of a much higher nature. Still, with a chip on his shoulder he’s gone on to deliver, and he was our sixth-ranked 4-3 defensive end for 2012. He’s proven a lot of teams wrong to become one of the ascending players in the league at his position.
+1.0: The scouts nailed it!
Not so much …
+0.5: Never hurts to find a solid contributor
Jonathan Stewart, RB (13th overall pick in 2008): With more carries Stewart would likely be higher. However, he’s had to spend most of his time working in a backfield committee and at times has had some durability issues. That’s a shame because his ability to run through tackles has always been a joy to watch.
Dan Connor, LB (74th overall pick in 2008): With a stacked group of linebackers, it’s always seemed hard for the Panthers to get the most out of a downhill thumper like Connor. His 816 snaps over his Panther career are low (even for a two-down player) but his grade (+13.2) more than makes this pick a success. If only they’d been able to get more out of him.
Gary Barnidge, TE (141st overall pick in 2008): The former fifth-round pick hung around for a long time, but with a crowded group of tight ends in front of him never got on the field enough. Still, he’s earned a +9.0 grade over five years and with 556 snaps to his name. Not bad for a fifth-round pick.
Geoff Schwartz, G (241st overall pick in 2008): It’s something of a surprise the Panthers let Schwartz walk last offseason, even after he missed all of the 2011 season on injured reserve. The versatile lineman was a revelation starting at right guard and right tackle in 2010, earning a +19.2 grade for his efforts. Getting a seventh rounder to produce like that is impressive.
Captain Munnerlyn, CB (216th overall pick in 2009): The only real hit from the 2009 class, Munnerlyn has outperformed his drafting even after a 2011 that had its bad moments. Versatile enough to play in the slot and be a contributor on special teams, he also may own one of the best names in the NFL.
Brandon LaFell, WR (78th overall pick in 2010): After a very tough rookie year, LaFell took a step forward as a sophomore and continued to build on that again in 2012. He doesn’t wow you, but he’s a solid contributor who adds something to the run game with his perimeter blocking.
0.0: Nothing ventured, nothing gained (It could have been worse)
Jeff Otah, T (19th overall pick in 2008): If not for injuries you would think this would have been a positive. When Otah was healthy he was good, and the kind of bullying right tackle this team loved. Yet, he managed just 239 snaps since the 2009 season and was let go after the 2011 season. A real shame.
Nick Hayden, DT (181st overall pick in 2008): After four years, 819 defensive snaps and a combined PFF grade of -17.5, Hayden and the Panthers finally ended their relationship.
Hilee Taylor, DT (221st overall pick in 2008): Taylor managed 91 snaps in his two seasons with the Panthers. While he didn’t look terrible on the field, it’s interesting that even with a depleted defensive tackle group he never caught on.
Mackenzy Bernadeau, G (250th overall pick in 2008): While getting plenty of time in 2009 and 2010, Bernadeau was something of a liability. You can’t expect to hit on two guards in the seventh round of the same draft can you?
Mike Goodson, RB (111th overall pick in 2009): He would be graded higher but for those pesky ball-security issues. Goodson has displayed an ability to make people miss, but was always going to struggle for carries with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart on the roster. Traded away for Bruce Campbell and did look bright at Oakland before recently landing with the Jets.
David Gettis, WR (198th overall pick in 2010): Gettis missed his second season after a horrid first year. The Panthers asked too much from him as a rookie sixth-rounder.
Jordan Pugh, S (202nd overall pick in 2010): Carolina has taken a good look at Pugh and should have probably realized that without a huge step forward in 2012 he’s not cut out for a role even as a defensive back in their dime package.
Tony Pike, QB (204th overall pick in 2010): He didn’t turn out to be Tom Brady, despite seeing limited action (22 snaps) as a rookie. His time in Carolina ended with him waived after suffering an injury to his throwing shoulder.
R.J. Stanford, CB (223rd overall pick in 2010): Got on the field for 257 snaps on defense and earned a -4.3 grade in that time. Stranger things have happened, but it’s hard to see him making a positive contribution on a regular basis.
Robert McClain, CB (249th overall pick in 2010): He got some game time as a rookie (134 snaps) and looked decent enough on special teams (eight tackles) but a new coaching staff didn’t buy into him and he was gone a year later.
-0.5: That pick was not put to good use
Charles Godfrey, S (67th overall pick in 2008): You’d be happy to get a five-year starter in the third round, but given the performances of Godfrey (a -28.8 grade in that time), that’s not the case. Consistently one of the worst tackling safeties in the league, Godfrey is that type of player the Panthers need to upgrade on and quickly.
Sherrod Martin, S (59th overall pick in 2009): This former second-round pick lost his starting spot in 2012 after a disappointing 2011. A player you just expect more out of.
Corvey Irvin, DT (93rd overall pick in 2009): Just 56 snaps in a Panthers outfit. They wanted more bang for their buck than that after spending his rookie year on injured reserve and some time on the practice squad.
Tony Fiametta, FB (128th overall pick in 2009): An awfully high spot to select a fullback, especially one that isn’t dominant. In 406 snaps with Carolina Fiametta earned a -4.3 grade.
Duke Robinson, G (163rd overall pick in 2009): Wasn’t Robinson meant to be something of a steal? He never saw the field and spent his time battling weight and injury issues. Unsuccessfully.
Jimmy Clausen, QB (48th overall pick in 2010): It’s easy to be this harsh to Clausen as he stunk it up as a rookie on a bad team. However, you don’t draft quarterbacks for a one-year performance, and Clausen (rightly) never got another chance because a better prospect came along. Not necessarily a terrible pick and certainly not a good one, Clausen has been, to some degree, a victim of circumstance.
Eric Norwood, DE (124th overall pick in 2010): A total of 149 snaps over two years isn’t a lot to show for this former fourth-round pick.
-1.0: What a waste!
Everette Brown, DE (43rd overall pick in 2009): Even when you forget the Panthers gave up a future first-round pick for Brown, this doesn’t look good. As a rookie, he did get some pressure in limited action, but asked to do that on a bigger scale with a starting spot, he flopped and found himself cut just two years after being drafted.
Armanti Edwards, WR (89th overall pick in 2010): The Panthers gave up what would be a high second-round pick for Edwards and in return so far they’ve got 168 snaps on offense. Neither wide receiver nor a quarterback and someone who doesn’t contribute in a big way on special teams, this was an utter waste of a pick.
-1.5: The scouts/ coaches failed, big time!
-2.0: You just drafted the love child of JaMarcus Russell and Ryan Leaf!
There were no Russell/ Leaf hybrids to pick from.
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