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Tag:Carolina Panthers
Posted on: August 13, 2010 2:41 pm
 

Greg Hardy (2 sacks) impressive in NFL debut

Defensive end Greg Hardy entered his senior season rated by NFLDraftScout.com and most NFL teams as a potential first round pick.

Instead, with another year of injuries and odd behavior, the former Ole Miss enigma slipped to the sixth round, where the pass-rush needy Carolina Panthers made him the 175th overall selection.

The Panthers certainly looked wise last night as Hardy collected five tackles, including four for loss and two sacks in his NFL debut last night against the Baltimore Ravens. According to league insiders, Hardy throughout training camp has been one of the more impressive late round selections, thus far and his impressive first game was not a surprise. Hardy's sacks came on back to back plays in Baltimore's opening drive of the third quarter. Perhaps most impressively, his two sacks racked up 17 yards in loss for the Ravens and came against the team's most mobile quarterback, former Heisman winner Troy Smith.

Hardy showed off the impressive blend of power and burst off the edge that had helped him emerge as one of college football's best pass rushers early in his career. Hardy earned First-Team All-SEC accolades in 2008 as a sophomore with an eye-popping 18.5 tackles for loss, conference-leading 10 sacks and three forced fumbles.

Numerous injuries -- including a stress fracture in his right foot, a broken wrist and multiple injuries sustained in a car accident in July of 2009 -- kept Hardy from the field for much of the 2009 and 2010 seasons. Hardy missed eight full games and significant playing time in a host of others during that time.

The ESPN crew of Mike Tirico, Ron Jaworski and Jon Gruden not surprisingly spent much of their Carolina rookie analysis on second round quarterback Jimmy Clausen (who also played well, at times, last night) and converted wide receiver Armanti Edwards, a third round selection.

Hardy and veteran Tyler Brayton headlined an impressive first game for the much-maligned new-look Carolina defensive line. Hardy and Brayton contributed four of the team's six sacks on the night against a quality Baltimore offensive line.

Considering the loss of not only Julius Peppers, but fellow defensive line starters Maake Kemoeatu and Damione Lewis, it could be Hardy who ends up having a more significant impact for the Panthers as a rookie.

Hardy's (and Clausen's) performance was highlighted by the Carolina Panthers' team website , which quoted Hardy following the game:

"We were just trying to do our job and not worrying about a lot of outside people talking about Pep[ppers],” Hardy said. "I'm just trying to find my place as a rusher in this league. I've got a lot of speed, and when I get everything down, I think that will be an asset.”



Posted on: May 3, 2010 6:01 pm
 

Five biggest gambles of the draft

Considering the money and time invested, every draft selection ever made is, by definition, a gamble.

However, there are always a group of picks made each year that surprise me with their brazen and obvious risk. These are the picks that either earn general managers and scouting directors the admiration of fans and foes, alike, or result in unemployment.

These are the five moves that I thought were the boldest gambles of the 2010 draft.

  1. Denver's trading up to get Tim Tebow: You knew this would be on the list, but I believe it belongs No. 1 for reasons you may not have considered. The gamble isn't just that Tebow is, in the opinion of most, at least a year away from contributing. If you've followed my blog at all you know that I've argued for three years now that Tim Tebow could be a successful NFL quarterback and warranted second round consideration. I acknowledge that Tebow is a gamble in himself, but to trade up so aggressively to get him -- the Broncos gave up 2nd, 3rd and 4th round picks (OLB Sergio Kindle, TE Ed Dickson and TE Dennis Pitta) to Baltimore makes the selection significantly more brazen. Add to this fact that by drafting two wide receivers coming off foot injuries (Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker) in the first three rounds to package with Tebow, the team may not get much out of the early round picks in 2010. It is in this way where I really believe Denver's pick of Tebow was especially gutsy (some might say foolish), as the Broncos received stunningly little from their top picks of the 2009 draft, as well. The team got 19 tackles (and no sacks) from first round pass rusher Robert Ayers and 14 tackles (no INTs) from second round cornerback Alphonso Smith. By the time some of Josh McDaniels' talents start to contribute, the Denver head coach may be standing in the unemployment line. This team needed immediate contributors and they, instead, gambled on potential.  
  2. Carolina trading up to make QB Armanti Edwards a WR: Like the Tebow pick, I'm not as surprised with the fact that Carolina drafted Edwards or that he is being asked to convert to receiver or even that he went in the third round (despite NFLDraftScout.com ranking him as a 5th round pick). I'm stunned that Carolina was so aggressive in trading up to get him. The Panthers traded their 2nd round pick (to the Patriots) next year for the right to draft Edwards in the third round (No. 89 overall). Using what amounts to two top 100 picks on a project just seems like too much gamble for a team with as many holes as Carolina. 
  3. Tyson Alualu at 10: I don't consider this to be the gamble that many others, apparently do. Sure, I get that Alualu was a reach at No. 10. He likely would have been on the board in the early 20s. Sources throughout the league tell me the Jags actively worked the phone attempting to trade back out of this pick as they knew taking Alualu this high would invite criticism. When they weren't able to get a decent deal, they stayed put and took their guy. I like Alualu's game and feel that his underrated athleticism, incredible work ethic and position versatility made him one of the safer picks in the draft. While I don't believe Alualu will ever be a superstar, I do believe he'll prove a quality starter in the NFL for ten years or so. Despite what I think, the perception is certainly that GM Gene Smith and the Jaguars reached. If Alualu is a disappointinment -- even if just at first -- Smith could be on the hot seat.   
  4. Dallas/Buffalo/Kansas City ignoring OTs: In Dez Bryant, CJ Spiller and Eric Berry, respectively, I believe the Cowboys, Bills and Chiefs may have three of the most impactful rookies from the 2010 draft. However, the cost of ignoring offensive tackle in the first, second, third and fourth rounds may come back to bite these clubs. All three teams have significant questions at offensive tackle and considering how talented this year' crop was at the position, I'm stunned these clubs didn't make adding help upfront more of a priority. 
  5. San Diego trading up to get Ryan Mathews: I believe Ryan Mathews is the best all-around back in this draft and that his skill-set perfectly fits what was missing in the San Diego offense last season. That said, in making the biggest jump in the first round (trading up from No. 28 to No. 12), the Chargers are investing an awful lot in a running back that was unable to stay healthy during any of his three seasons at Fresno State. San Diego general manager AJ Smith is one of the league's gutsiest on draft day and this could pay off big, but this deal is like doubling down on 12 in black jack. It only looks brilliant if it works out. 


Posted on: April 26, 2010 11:50 pm
 

My all undrafted lineup -- offense

Each year there are players who slip through the cracks into undrafted free agency that, quite frankly, I'm stunned aren't drafted.

Here is my list of players who were undrafted but I feel could find a roster spot in the NFL.

Today I'm highlighting the offensive players (as well as their NFL franchise). Tomorrow I'll list the defensive players.

QB: Jarrett Brown, West Virginia (signed with San Francisco)
RB: Keiland Williams, LSU (signed with Washington)
FB: Rashawn Jackson, Virginia (signed with Carolina)
TE: Colin Peek, Alabama (signed with Atlanta)
WR: Blair White, Michigan State (signed with Indianapolis)
WR: Seyi Ajirotutu, Fresno State (signed with San Diego)
OT: Casey Knips, South Dakota State (signed with Arizona)
OG: Ciron Black, LSU (signed with Pittsburgh)
C: Kenny Alfred, Washington State (signed with Tennessee)
OG: Jeff Byers, USC (signed with Seattle)
OT: Levi Horn, Montana (signed with Chicago)
Posted on: April 23, 2010 7:36 pm
 

Clausen could benefit from sliding to Carolina

Jimmy Clausen suffered roughly twice as long a fall as either Brady Quinn or Aaron Rodgers, but might end up with the last laugh in being selected 48th overall to the Carolina Panthers.

Carolina likes what they've seen from Matt Moore, but he is far from established, having just started eight games over his career. The Panthers' only other quarterback on the active roster was Hunter Cantwell, meaning that a strong performance in training camp and the preseason could move Clausen into the primary backup role early.

With the running game, a solid offensive line and a explosive Steve Smith already on this offense, Clausen doesn't have to have a team built around him like most highly drafted quarterbacks.

Perhaps best for Clausen and the Panthers, is that terminology fit he'll have. Clausen obviously starred under Charlie Weis at Notre Dame. Carolina offensive coordinator Jeff Davidson previously served as the tight end coach with the New England Patriots and Weis.
Posted on: April 23, 2010 3:24 pm
 

NFC South First Round Comments

Following the conclusion of the draft, I'll be providing grades for all 32 teams. I've begun the process of writing these grades up based on what transpired in the first round yesterday. I'll be posting comments for each team, by their division, in the blog over the next few hours.

Here is how I saw the action from the NFC South perspective:

Atlanta Falcons: The Atlanta Falcons struck gold a few years ago with the selection of undersized linebacker Curtis Lofton in the second round. They went back to the Big 12 for another speedy playmaker with Sean Weatherspoon in the first. Expected to take over the weakside position, Weatherspoon is an ideal in Atlanta’s cover-two scheme.

Carolina Panthers:  Having traded their first round pick of the 2010 draft away last April for the right to take defensive end Everette Brown in the second round, the Panthers had to just sit and observe Thursday’s action. Their first pick is scheduled to be in the second round, the 48th overall.

New Orleans Saints: Tracy Porter may have made the Super Bowl winning interception, but the Saints aren’t about to limit the competition in their secondary. Patrick Robinson’s footwork and speed rival any cornerback in this class, though some teams were concerned that he’s not as interested in run support. Like Porter, who had similar knocks on him coming out of Indiana, Robinson’s best assets are being used in New Orleans – where opponents are often attempting to throw the ball to keep up with Drew Brees.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Bucs had an easy choice at No. 3 with Gerald McCoy, as he fits in nicely with their attacking scheme. McCoy is also unusually mature for a young player, giving the team the high character element that the team is looking for.

Posted on: April 10, 2010 10:59 am
 

Scout: Clausen good, Tate better at Pro Day

Despite all of the attention heaped upon Jimmy Clausen's workout yesterday, the true star on the field, one scout in attendance told me, was Clausen's former wide receiver, Golden Tate.

"Clausen was good. Give him credit. He fired the ball in there better than I thought he would and he handled the pressure well. He looked like he was having fun out there, and that was important to the guys who questioned his leadership," the high ranking scout told me on the condition of anonymity.

"But, the best player on the field was Tate. No question."

Tate's strong showing doesn't surprise me -- nor should it surprise any one who has done any legitimate film review of him.

While I'm always hesitant to make comparisons of college players to NFL standouts, I've consistently compared Tate to Panthers All-Pro Steve Smith.

Smith (5'9, 185) and Tate's (5-10, 199) lack of prototypical size might be the most obvious reason for the comparison, but in reality, this is just one of the several attributes each player brings. Both are more like running backs after the catch than wide receivers, showing not only the agility and acceleration to make defenders miss and pull away from them -- but also the vision to set up downfield blocks and the willingness to cut back into the middle (where few undersized receivers are willing to go). Both are short in stature, but giants in terms of toughness and physicality.

What I like most about Tate (and Smith) is that despite their height, they each boast spectacular timing and body control during their leaps for contested passes. Few, if any receivers, consistently win more "jump balls" than these two so-called "undersized" receivers. 

And let's not forget that Tate is far from just a workout warrior. Sure, his 4.42 time in the 40-yard dash at the Combine was impressive, but his production at Notre Dame was even better. Tate won the Biletnikof Award as the nation's best receiver, breaking school records for receptions (93) and receiving yards (1,496) and tying the mark for receiving touchdowns (15). He also scored two touchdowns as a runner and another as a punt returner. 

When Tate falls out of the first round -- and according to sources throughout the league there is a growing consensus that he will -- don't take that as a sign that he's been overrated or that his former quarterback was the best Notre Dame player last year.

If taken with anything less than a first round pick, Tate will prove to be one of the great steals of the 2010 draft.


Posted on: February 26, 2010 9:20 am
 

Coin Tosses Over, Official Draft Order Finalized

Three coin flips took place this morning to determine the official order of the 2010 NFL draft.

The Jaguars won the first coin toss over the Chicago Bears. The Bears had previously sent their 2010 first round pick to the Denver Broncos as part of the Jay Cutler trade. Therefore, the Jaguars will be picking 10th overall. The Broncos will have the Bears' pick, 11th overall.

The Tennessee Titans will pick 16th overall after winning their coin toss with the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers had previously traded their 2010 first round pick to the San Francisco 49ers, so the 49ers' second pick of the opening frame will come at No. 17. San Francisco also has the 13th pick of the draft.

Finally, the Atlanta Falcons won the rights to the 19th overall pick by winning a coin flip with the Houston Texans, who will pick 20th.

The coin flip to determine order was put in place by the league to separate teams that finish the season with identical records and opponent winning percentages.

Regardless of the winner of the coin flip, teams that finished tied, will alternate each round. For example, the Falcons, by winning the coin toss, will draft 19th in the first round, to be followed by the Texans at #20. Houston, however, will get the 19th pick in the second round, with the Falcons next.

Posted on: August 17, 2009 10:35 pm
 

Rookie Impressions -- Everette Brown

The Carolina Panthers traded their first round pick in next April's draft to the San Francisco 49ers for the right to select Florida State pass rusher Everette Brown 43rd overall. The All-American registered 21.5 tackles for loss, including an ACC-leading 13.5 sacks and 4 forced fumbles for the Seminoles as a junior. Officially listed by the Seminoles at 6-4, 252 pounds, Brown turned up a stunning 2.5 inches shorter at only 6-1 (1/2), which led to his drop out of the first round.

Brown was flip-flopped between left and right defensive end for the Panthers on Monday Night Football against the New Yotk Giants. Some of his more spirited battles came against fellow rookie William Beatty (Connecticut), also drafted in the second round. Brown's sack of Andre Woodson, arguably his best play of the night, was against Beatty.

Everette Brown, Carolina Panthers DE #91 -- Looks even smaller than his Combine measurements. Discouraging inconsistency in his get-off at the snap. Flashed the good burst he'd shown in college, but relied on guessing the snap count too often tonight. Was even occasionally the last on the line reacting to the snap. Had to beat tackle with his initial burst, as he lacked the strength to push the pocket consistently with his bull rush. Lack of upper body explosiveness limits his effectivess in all areas. Good lateral agility to re-direct, but has to get by cleanly, as bigger tackles can simply push him off his route due to his lack of size, strength. Quick hands to get into the tackle's chest. Flashes the strength to pull the tackle down and swim over the top of him. Flashed suddenness to accelerate with the ball-carrier in view. Only marginal strength to pull down the quarterback. Spinning, drag-down tackle for his sack of Woodson in the 3rd quarter.

With offenses having to account for Julius Peppers, Brown has an opportunity to enjoy immediate success. Though his overall play Monday night was a bit disappointing and Brown's lack of prototypical size and strength limits his ability to be an every-down defender, his burst, long arms and closing speed should still make him one of the more successful rookie pass rushers this season.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com