4 best late round gems the Carolina Panthers didn’t do enough with

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Daryl Williams
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Daryl Williams /
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Carolina Panthers
(Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) Harrison Butker /

Harrison Butker – Former Carolina Panthers K

  • 7th round (2017)

Oh, what could have been. That’s what will always be attached to Harrison Butker as far as the Carolina Panthers and their long-suffering fanbase are concerned.

After a very rough season in 2016 for Graham Gano which started off with a shanked game-winner on opening night that would’ve avenged a loss in Super Bowl 50, the Panthers selected Butker in the seventh round. A pick that surprised almost everyone.

That offseason Butker and Gano battled it out for the chance to be Carolina’s starter going forward, a battle won barely won by the veteran.

While Gano certainly had a good year in 2017, going to his only Pro Bowl. So did the other guy and only one of those two is still on the same team.

The Panthers had to make a decision and putting Butker on the practice squad has not aged well, at least for them. The kicker was snatched up by the Kansas City Cheifs and he has never looked back.

Butker’s accuracy has never dipped below 88.9 percent in any season and to put just another nail in the coffin, he only missed two field goals last season. While Joey Slye is a good kicker, no one would smirk at the Panthers having another shot at picking the winner of the kicking battle in 2017.

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At a place in the draft that is almost completely forgotten and a position that no one ever drafts, Carolina found a gem and let it slip through their fingers for nothing in return.