The Carolina Panthers have hit home runs in the NFL Draft, but which would they go in 2006 if they had the chance to do it all again?
The Carolina Panthers have been fortunate with the quality of their NFL Draft picks since their inception. They have the most All-Pro picks since 2000 and this played a significant role in them becoming a contender soon after they joined the league.
General manager Marty Hurney needs to take tremendous credit for this. He has been the one constant for the Carolina Panthers and he looks to have selected well from their historic all-defense draft in 2020.
The NFL Draft is always full of “what ifs” regarding players that ended up becoming stars that were taken before those that promised much but delivered very little. Carolina has had its fair share of these over the years. However, one could argue the franchise has become one of the strongest at evaluating prospects.
In this latest edition, we take a look back at the 2006 NFL Draft and the college recruits that the Panthers could have gone with. Hindsight is a wonderful thing to have in the NFL. And it’s always fun to look at.
Carolina Panthers 2006 Draft: Nick Mangold over DeAngelo Williams (No. 27)
Taking DeAngelo Williams with the 27th pick wasn’t a bad selection by any means. But Nick Mangold would’ve been better for the Carolina Panthers and their long-term aspirations.
Mangold had a very good career with the Jets. He was a great leader for them and stayed loyal to the organization through some tough times.
He was named to the Pro Bowl seven times and made First-Team All-Pro in 2009 and 2010. Mangold was one of the best centers in the league every year he played. And was a formidable presence to shift from the block.
Williams was great for the Panthers, particularly in his tandem with Jonathan Stewart at running back. But they arguably should have waited until the second round to select a back in 2006 given how deep the draft was. Mangold could have been the centerpiece of the Panthers offensive line for many years.
This isn’t really a missed pick. Players like Haloti Ngata and Vernon Davis were already gone so Williams was a safe selection. But looking back Mangold would have been huge for the Panthers future.