The Panthers have landed a former 1st round pick to add to their defensive line. But don’t get too excited yet, because that former 1st round pick is Kentwan Balmer. The 4th year defensive-lineman was released by the Seattle Seahawks yesterday and was claimed on waivers by the Panthers today. Balmer was orignially drafted by the 49ers with the 29th pick in the 2008 draft. Balmer was traded to the Seahawks prior to the 2010 season for a 6th round pick. Oddly enough, the Seahawks replaced Balmer on the roster with a running-back that they had cut on Monday.
The good news is that Carolina has had decent experience with former first-round defensive lineman picks that had been mere castaways before coming to Carolina (Damione Lewis, Tyler Brayton, etc.). Certainly the Panther organization is hoping that Balmer will have his career rejuvenated by coming back to North Carolina. Additionally, many will argue that the reason Balmer has played so poorly his first three years is that he was being mis-used as a 3-4 end when his natural NFL position is 4-3 defense tackle. Count me as a member of that camp!
However, Balmer needs to realize that being a former 1st round pick does not mean he is entitled to significant playing time, a starting job, or even a roster spot. If he can realize that, maybe he can fulfill his potential and help solidify a very weak spot on the Carolina Panther football team.