Carolina Panthers: 2009 NFL Draft do-over (6 Rounds)

(Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) Captain Munnerlyn
(Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) Captain Munnerlyn /
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Johnny Knox, Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) Johnny Knox /

Scouting Report. WR. 87. Pick Analysis. ABILENE CHRISTIAN. JOHNNYKNOX. 128. player

Carolina Panthers 2009 Draft: Johnny Knox over Tony Fiammetta (No. 128)

At this point in the draft, it’s all about filling positions of need. The Carolina Panthers needed a fullback so they selected Tony Fiammetta out of Syracuse.

Fullbacks don’t get the same love other players do. They do the dirty work and rarely get recognition. Fiammetta did his job but was far from the best in the league.

He spent two seasons in Carolina before going on the play for the Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots, and Chicago Bears. Fiammetta never played again after 2014.

There are multiple players the Panthers could have taken in this spot. James Casey or Thomas Morestead would be solid choices in hindsight. But the right selection might have come in the form of Johnny Knox.

The wide receiver was drafted by the Bears and only played three seasons in the NFL. But that has nothing to do with skill. Knox suffered a horrific back injury that ended his career in December 2011. And this represented a significant blow to a player that showed plenty of promise.

Knox was well on his way to being a great receiver and one of the best return men in the league. In his rookie year, he recorded 45 receptions, 527 yards, and five touchdowns. The wideout made the Pro Bowl for his return skills. He had 32 kick returns for 927 yards and even took one 102 yards for a touchdown.

His second season saw Knox catch 51 passes for 960 yards and five touchdowns. In his third campaign before the injury, he caught 37 passes for 727 yards and two scores.

In this fictional scenario, Knox gets drafted by the Panthers and has a long and productive career playing alongside Steve Smith and Mike Wallace.