The Carolina Panthers GM Marty Hurney and Head Coach Ron Rivera had their Pre-Draft conference today. Hurney defiantly ended all talks about the Panthers planning on moving up in the draft, but could still look to move down.
Like any good GM, Hurney made sure not to give off any hints as to who they were looking at drafting. One thing that will be harder this year as compared to last year is not being the first pick in the draft.
There are only a certain amount of people that will be on Carolina’s board that they will be willing to stay at the number nine pick to draft. If the top players that they feel are not there anymore, they still feel confident that they can pick a great player by still trading down.
Trading down would not be too bad for Carolina, after trading their third rounder last year for TE Greg Olsen, the Panthers will be possibly looking to get that back.
Also, on the selection point board, which tells exactly how much each pick is worth in points, Carolina is expected to get a second and fourth rounder along with the first round pick they trade for. Hurney mentioned that this particular draft is very deep in talent so there will be no worries on losing talent.
Having a second pick in the second round could be huge! Coach Rivera mentioned in the presser that the Panthers are looking for an immediate player that can contribute, and not a player that would have to be waited on to develop.
That comment potentially rules out DT Dontari Poe for the number nine pick. Poe was a combine machine, which helped his draft stock get all the way to the top ten, but as teams began to look back at the tape he lost most interest. The 6-4, 346 pound monster could be molded to a player similar to B.J Raji, but if Carolina is looking for that immediate starter, you can count Poe Out.
Hurney mentioned that free agency is over for them at least until after the draft. Earlier last week Carolina had been linked to having interest in St. Louis C Jason Brown, which would have probably been moved to guard which he occasionally played in college at Maryland.
There wasn’t much left for the Panthers to do anyway, talent wise and salary cap wise. With the re-signing of veteran WR Steve Smith, the Panthers have just a little over $5 million for draft players, according to Pat Yasinskas.
Hurney feels that there will be a lot more trades during this year’s draft with the new rookie pool and feels that he will get a lot of offers for the ninth pick. However, there was not a team as of now that he could mention that have been in talks with the Panthers for he feel more offers will come the day of the draft.
Ron Rivera said he was very excited for this year and for the players coming in the draft. Carolina now has hope, with all 71 players on the roster attending the first and second day for workouts the team knows that they have something going for them. Rivera expressed that Cam Newton will be even more of a leader than he was last year, especially with Newton’s strong dedication and competitive nature to bring home a Lombardi Trophy.