Lucky Number 13?


The Carolina Panthers are slotted to pick thirteenth in a little over two weeks.  Rumors are floating around that the team wants to trade up in this draft to pick up either Ryan Clady or even, believe it or not, Brian Brohm.

I’ve asked myself many times why the team would want to trade up in the first place.  They’re not in a bad position afterall and the player they get in that spot won’t exactly be a lousy performer if they do their homework.

It got me started thinking.  So I did a little homework of my own.  I wanted to know who had been picked at number thirteen over the last ten drafts to get a feel for the kind of production we can expect from the player we get there.

The following briefly breaks down the careers of those players and each is graded as either a “boom” or a “bust.”

Takeo Spikes, LB, Auburn – 1998, picked by Cincinnati

Spikes’ career has been highlighted more for the number of teams he’s played for (three – Cincinnati, Buffalo, Philadelphia) than his on-field accomplishments.  But his stat line isn’t exactly something to scoff at either:  606 tackles, 409 solo tackles, 207 assists, 22.5 sacks, 29 passes defensed, 12 interceptions and 3 TD’s.

His numbers would be much more impressive but he didn’t really contribute with the Bengals until his fourth year in the league.  Spikes has been considered a solid, if not even occasionally spectacular, linebacker throughout the last six NFL seasons.

Status:  Boom

Troy Edwards, WR, Louisiana Tech – 1999, picked by Pittsburgh

Another player to bounce around the league (Pittsburgh, St. Louis, Jacksonville, Detroit), Edwards never seemed to hit his stride in the NFL.  In a total of 92 games, Edwards compiled 203 receptions, 2404 yards, and 11 TD’s.

His best season was in his rookie campaign when he accounted for 61 catches for 714 yards and 5 TD’s.

He was last active in the game with the Grand Rapids Rampage of the Arena Football League.

Status:  Bust

John Abraham, LB, South Carolina – 2000, picked by New York Jets

Abraham has had a solid career.  At times, he’s been spectacular.

Spending his first six seasons in New York, he amassed some impressive statistics including 53.5 sacks.  That made him a very popular free agent following the 2005 season.  He landed in Atlanta and has yet to produce tremendous numbers with 14 sacks, but has been productive.  But his career has been very solid.

His career numbers:  265 solo tackles, 68 assists, 67.5 sacks, 1 TD.

Status:  Boom

Marcus Stroud, DT, Georgia – 2001, picked by Jacksonville

Stroud is the first player on this list to spend every year since being drafted with one team.  Considering the existence of free agency, that’s remarkable.  And his career hasn’t been a disappointment.

He has played in 100 out of a possible 112 regular season games compiling 217 solo tackles, 61 assists, 22 sacks, 6 forced fumbles and 23 passes defensed.

The fact that the Jaguars have kept him around throughout his seven seasons is a testament to his talent.

Status:  Boom

Donte’ Stallworth, WR, Tennessee – 2002, picked by New Orleans

Coming out of college, Stallworth was expected to be a great receiver for the Saints.  He showed flashes of brilliance but never seemed to have the break-through season that had been expected of him.  As a result, he was allowed to leave and join the Eagles.  After a year in Philly, he would spend 2007 with the much ballyhooed offense of the Patriots.

His off-field problems have also played a role in his movement throughout the league.  (He’ll be wearing his fourth uniform in as many seasons in ’08 when he plays for the Browns.)

After much promise and expectation, Stallworth’s best season came in 2005 with the Saints when he had 70 catches for 945 yards and 7 TD’s.  That was his last in the Bayou.

For his career, Stallworth has 279 receptions, 4213 yards and 31 TD’s in six NFL seasons.

Status:  Bust

Ty Warren, DE, Texas A & M – 2003, picked by New England

Statistically, Warren has had some less than stellar seasons.  Twice in his five-year career, he has posted less than 2 sacks and has never had more than 7.5 in a year.  For a defensive end that’s not what is expected.

He has been durable playing in 79 of a possible 80 games.  But you just can’t believe that he has played as well as the Patriots were hoping when investing a first-round pick in him.  Sure, he’s been a part of championship teams but hasn’t made the impact that a high draft pick is expected to make.

For his career, he has 198 solo tackles, 98 assists, 17.5 sacks, 3 forced fumbles and a safety.

Status:  Borderline Bust

Lee Evans, WR, Wisconsin – 2004, picked by Buffalo

The last wide receiver selected at this spot, Evans came into Buffalo with high expectations.  With the exception of the 2006 season (82 catches, 1292 yards, 8 TD’s), he has been very inconsistent.  However, he has been very valuable to the Bills in putting up points despite his lack of overall receptions.

The 2007 season was a career low for Evans as he had only 5 scoring catches.  In his other three seasons, he has had no fewer than 7 TD’s.

With receivers, the NFL sees “the light go on” normally between years two and four.  While Evans has had one solid season, his production has yet to match his draft position.

Career stats:  233 receptions, 3727 yards, 29 TD’s.

Status:  Borderline Bust

Jammal Brown, T, Oklahoma – 2005, picked by New Orleans

Interesting stat:  This was the second time that the Saints have picked at number thirteen within a three year span.

Brown has been a steady force on the Saints’ offensive line.  He played in thirteen games his rookie season helping to immediately shore up the unit.  JB reached the Pro Bowl after the 2006 season after having a big year helping to lead his team to the NFC Championship Game.

It’s really too bad that there aren’t any official statistics for offensive linemen – pancake blocks, sacks allowed, rushing yards contributed to…anything.  But, alas there are none.

Status:  Boom

Kamerion Wimbley, LB, Florida State – 2006, picked by Cleveland

Wimbley started off his NFL tenure with a big rookie season (11 sacks).  He cooled off considerably in his sophomore campaign with only 5 sacks.

It’s probably too early to tell a lot about Wimbley.  However, he has played in all 32 games since he was draft.  He has totaled 83 solo tackles, 30 assists, 16 sacks, 5 forced fumbles, and 1 pass defensed.

Status:  Too Early to Tell

Adam Carriker, NT, Nebraska – 2007, picked by St. Louis

It was a bit of a slow start for Carriker in St. Louis.  Consider that a nose tackle is supposed to be the big man in the middle who stuffs the run and who opens up lanes for the linebackers.  Carriker has the size at 6-6, 296 but he didn’t put up impressive stats with 21 solo tackles, 9 assists, 2 sacks, 1 pass defensed and 1 safety.

Carriker was playing a different position in the NFL.  He had been a defensive end in college and was asked by the Rams to play nose tackle.  That may have hurt his production trying to learn a new position.

It’s possible he switches back to end next season if Leonard Little can’t come back from his injuries.  Then we’ll get a better idea of how Carriker will fair in the pros.

Status:  Too Early to Tell

Total Stats:

Booms: 4

Busts: 4 (2 Borderline Busts)

Too Early to Tell: 2

Bottom Line – A trade up could be in order though I don’t buy into that notion.  The thirteenth spot is a 50/50 proposition but that’s true with nearly all draft picks.  My guess is that the Panthers stay put and take the best player available.

Their only other option is to trade down to amass more picks but it’s likely that a tackle other than Clady (Otah or Williams) will be there and they’ll pull the trigger.