Brandon Helton. 29th April, 2009 - 11:35 pm
The 2009 NFL Draft is complete. Now it is time for all of the speculation of who is going where to stop, and for all 32 teams to get their guys into mini-camps. This will be the coaching staffs? first look at the players in their particular systems.
Due to the Jeff Otah trade with the Philadelphia Eagles on draft day 2008, the Carolina Panthers did not own a first round pick. Many thought the Panthers would be able to move defensive end Julius Peppers to acquire at least one first rounder. That did not materialize and Peppers is still a member of the team at this point. Fans just hope the team can find another All-Pro like 2007 draft choice Jon Beason.
As the first round ended and the second round progressed, the Panthers saw a player they had very high on their draft board still available. Not only was the player highly ranked, but he played a position of great need for the Panthers and he was raised in North Carolina as a Panthers fan.
With little chance their man would be available when the Panthers pick of #59 came around, management made a difficult decision and decided to trade up to #43 with the 49ers and select pass-rushing specialist Everette Brown from Florida State.
Acquiring Brown is the good news. The bad news is the pick came at a large cost. For the second straight year, the Panthers traded away next year?s first round pick. Whether or not the move will pay off will take years to know for sure.
?You do it for players you think can come in and help you right away,? said Marty Hurney. ?When you look at giving up next year's first for a guy like Everette Brown, you have him for a year and then he's that much better in 2010.?
Brown is smaller than the defensive ends the Panthers have been using, but his ability to bring down the quarterback is much needed on a team that has only one real threat to blow-up the opponent?s backfield (Peppers).
With their original second round pick, the Panthers chose defensive back Sherrod Martin from Troy. Martin is a bigger DB, and word is the Panthers are hoping he can learn the system quickly enough to play the nickel position this season. While Martin is known as a tough player that can really hit, he also comes with durability issues and did not play against the best competition at Troy. This makes his selection at #59 a major question mark in my opinion.
The third and fourth rounds brought the Panthers another defensive lineman and two running backs. Georgia defensive take Corvey Irvin, Texas A&M running back Mike Goodson and Syracuse fullback Tony Fiammetta were the selections.
Fiammetta is widely regarded as a great lead-blocker with excellent receiving skills. With starter Brad Hoover getting older, this looks to be a very good pick. Irvin should be able to step into the rotation at defensive tackle and bring size and quickness to the position. The puzzling pick here is Goodson.
While Goodson has skills, the Panthers already have DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart fighting for carries, so there is little chance he will ever see time running the ball. There?s a chance Goodson could shift to a slot receiver role to present another threat to defenses, but there were more highly ranked players that don?t have the off-the-field issues with coaches he does.
In the fifth round, the Panthers drafted a man I believe will help the team for years to come. Why this massive offensive lineman from Oklahoma was still available this late is a mystery to me. Duke Robinson was considered a late first or early second round pick no later than a month ago. The past two seasons Robinson has played his way to All-Big 12 and All-American selections with his dominating performances; he is also versatile enough to play either guard or tackle. His physical is tailor fit for a John Fox system of pounding the ball.
After trading the sixth round draft choice, the Panthers ended their draft in the seventh round with South Carolina cornerback Captain Munnerlyn. Munnerlyn is a small but quick player that will have to really fight to make the team. He also comes with off-the-field baggage, and South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier publicly questioned his desire to play the game.
The draft class of 2009 looks strong at this point. Whether or not that will translate during the regular season we will see. I do think the team did a good job of addressing needs on both lines, and added some youth and talent to the defense as a whole.