In the middle of an offseason full of turmoil for the Carolina Panthers, most thought the coaching turnover was complete. Wednesday, that theory was debunked….
Carolina Panthers assistant coach Curtis Fuller has resigned. He was promoted to his now former position of defensive backs coach before last season due to the promotion of Steve Wilks to defensive coordinator. Wilks is now head coach of the Arizona Cardinals.
This is a surprising move by Fuller, as he had been consistently climbing the Panthers coaching ranks. He was even gifted new talents Donte Jackson and Rashaan Gaulden in the second and third rounds of this year’s draft, respectively. Cornerback, which had for a while been a weakness of the team, was even expected to be a strength with James Bradberry, Ross Cockrell, and Donte Jackson all competing for the starting positions.
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No reason for the resignation has been stated, but Ron Rivera said earlier that it was a complicated situation. One can only guess at the reason for this uncomfortable situation, but it could have to do with the Panthers’ questionable selection of Rashaan Gaulden over Ronnie Harrison in the third round of the NFL Draft last Friday. Harrison was picked soon after by Jacksonville.
Gaulden was projected to go in the fourth or fifth round, whereas Harrison could have possibly sneaked in as a very late first round pick. However, with both available and Carolina on the clock at 85th overall, the Panthers decided to go with the college cornerback as a project at safety.
Perhaps the team was concerned with Harrison’s character, but Fuller was not. Perhaps Fuller wanted a true safety, rather than a college cornerback as a project. Perhaps Fuller was none too thrilled with Gaulden’s lackluster combine performance, whereas the team loved his tape. Perhaps the resignation had nothing to do with this. One can only speculate.
As of now, there aren’t any obvious options to replace Fuller with, so an internal promotion is likely; the Panthers seem to like to do that with the defensive coaching staff.