Courtesy of panthers.com
Though Hurney’s first round selections have brought in such players as Jordan Gross, Chris Gamble, Thomas Davis, DeAngelo Williams, Jon Beason, and Jonathan Stewart, he has made blunders by using high round picks as compensation for trading back into the first round or to obtain a player they covet in the draft. In 2008, after drafting Oregon running-back, Jonathan Stewart, Hurney made a deal with the Philadelphia Eagles which allowed the Panthers to jump back into the first round to select Pittsburgh offensive tackle, Jeff Otah at number 19. To acquire Otah, the Panthers gave up their 2008 2nd rounder (43), 4th rounder (109) and their 2009 1st round selection. The fact of the matter is, it was way too much to give up for Otah, especially at 19th overall. With the 43rd pick, the Panthers could have had their option of such players like Matt Forte, Ray Rice, or even DeSean Jackson. If we could go back to 2008, would it have been better for the Panthers to pass on Stewart at #13 and taking Virginia tackle Branden Albert instead, moving him to his natural position of guard (which could be argued is Otah’s natural position as well) then using the #43 pick they traded away to select either Forte or Rice? They would still get their OT/RB combination that they obviously coveted, but would not have surrendered any other compensation. The 2009 1st rounder that was traded to the Eagles (eventually traded to the Bills in the Jason Peters trade) could have landed either Hakeem Nicks or Kenny Britt in Charlotte.
While we’re on the 2009 draft, Hurney made one of the most boneheaded-decisions in Panthers history by trading the team’s 2010 1st round draft selection to the San Francisco 49ers to acquire the 49ers’ 2nd round pick (#43) and 4th round pick (#111). The Panthers used the 43rd pick to select Florida State defensive end, Everette Brown only to cut him two seasons later. The 111th pick actually turned out to be the best part of the deal for the Panthers as they used it to select Texas A&M running back, Mike Goodson. Hurney also made a questionable “non-deal” relating to the 2009 draft when he decided not to trade disgruntled defensive-end, Julius Peppers to either the Eagles or Patriots who had supposedly made offers. It was obvious that Peppers was not going to sign a long term deal with Carolina, so to let him walk away for a mere compensation pick was flat-out a bad business decision. The 2010 first round pick given up in the Brown deal turned out to be the 17th overall (Mike Iupati) of which the Panthers could have had options of Maurkice Pouncey, Sean Weatherspoon, or Dez Bryant.
When Hurney has actually picked players in the first round, he has had great success. However, his second round selections are about as bad as his first round selections are good. Bruce Nelson, Keary Colbert, Eric Shelton, Dwayne Jarrett, Everette Brown, and Jimmy Clausen all were drafted in the 2nd round by Hurney. He has had only one great 2nd round pick in his tenure with Ryan Kalil, one solid one in Richard Marshall, and a “jury-is-still-out” one in Sherrod Martin. Quite frankly, I always hope the Panthers either trade their 2nd round pick for a veteran player at a position of need or just donate it to the Salvation Army of Charlotte. Should I even mention the trading of a 2011 2nd round pick for Armanti Edwards? Hurney has had some nice mid-round selections, but they have not been as consistent as they need to be to give the Panthers solid depth and production. Many people credit the signings of Stephen Davis, Jake Delhomme, and even Tyler Brayton as examples of Hurney’s evaluation ability, but I say it had more to do with either the coaching staff’s input or the necessity of the situation.
Who would possible candidates be to replace Hurney? That is not for me to answer or even speculate. I think it will be interesting to see what Colts’ owner, Jim Irsay decides to do with the Polians following this season. Bill Polian is probably nearing the end of his career. However, his son, Chris has a very good reputation in NFL circles. A name that really interests me is John Dorsey, who currently serves as the director of college scouting for the Green Bay Packers. The hip trend in the NFL is to hire young general managers who have an extensive background in scouting. Plus, Dorsey’s experience working with Ted Thompson only adds to his appeal. No matter whom the Panthers would select as an alternative or even if they decide to fire Marty Hurney, the fact is that Carolina is slightly above .500 with Hurney as general manager. A slightly above .500 head-coach who could see a 2-14 year followed by another possible 2-14 year would not survive; in my opinion, neither should Hurney.