Carolina Panthers: 2011 NFL Draft do-over (6 Rounds)

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Cam Newton
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) Cam Newton /
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Justin Houston, Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images) Justin Houston /

Pick Analysis. JUSTINHOUSTON. 65. player. 87. Scouting Report. OLB. GEORGIA

Carolina Panthers 2011 Draft Pick No. 65: Justin Houston over Terrell McClain

The Carolina Panthers used the first pick in the second round to select South Florida defensive tackle Terrell McClain. He was great in college but unfortunately, that didn’t translate to the NFL.

In McClain’s rookie season he started 12 games and had just one sack and 19 total tackles. Before the 2012 season, McClain was cut when Carolina signed Dwan Edwards to replaces him.

McClain hasn’t turned into a starting-caliber defensive tackle but he is still playing in the league today trying to prove himself. After he was cut from the Panthers he was signed by the New England Patriots. But he was cut after week one and finished the season with the Houston Texans.

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He then signed with the Dallas Cowboys and played for them for the next three seasons. Since then McClain has spent time with Washington, the Atlanta Falcons, Arizona Cardinals, Kansas City Chiefs, and most recently the Oakland Raiders. McClain hasn’t turned into the player teams think he can be but he is still trying to make something of his career.

The Panthers should have passed on McClain and taken a player who has been one of the best pass rushers of this past decade. Justin Houston was selected by the Chiefs with the 70th overall pick. He put together a solid rookie season but he was arguably the best pass rusher in the league during the following three years.

Over the 2012 and 2013 seasons, Houston had 21 sacks, 110 tackles, and was named to two Pro Bowls. Houston had the best season of his career in 2014 with 22 sacks, four forced fumbles, and 23 tackles for loss. This earned the player another Pro Bowl selection and he was also named first-team All-Pro.

Since then Houston has still been very productive. He’s not putting up 22 sack seasons as he did in 2014 but he is still a great pass rusher. After his very successful eight years with the Chiefs, he signed with the Indianapolis Colts last offseason. He had 11 sacks and 13 tackles for loss in 2019.

If the Panthers would have selected Houston over McClain they would have had one of the most dominant pass rushers this league has seen. Pairing Houston with Charles Johnson in Carolina is something that could have been incredible.