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No Draft Buzz With The Panthers

May 2, 2013

The 2013 NFL Draft came and went last week and the Carolina Panthers did not generate much excitement or attention with its picks. Even avid Panthers fans have likely never heard of any of the team’s five picks.

I actually like Carolina’s first round pick. The Panthers almost had no choice but to take DT Star Lotulelei after he fell to No. 14. The Utah standout will make an immediate impact and has a good chance to live up to his first name. From there, I have no idea how the rest of the new Panthers will fare. Kawann Short was the second round pick. He is another defensive tackle and comes to Carolina from Purdue. I have to wonder about the team’s next pick, Edmund Kugbila, in the fourth round. ESPN did not have much info on the guard from Valdosta State. It was almost as if they did not think he would be drafted at all. Round five gave the Panthers linebacker A.J. Klein out of Iowa. I was not thrilled with the team’s final pick, runningback Kenjon Barner out of Oregon. The last thing Carolina needs is another runningback.

Keep in mind that this is just me talking. We will learn more when this handful of draftees take the field. Hopefully these guys will become household names.

NFL Draft Notes

The recent trend of quarterbacks going early did not take place this year. This should tell us that the talent just was not there as it has been of late. E.J. Manuel of Florida State ended up being the first signalcaller taken. He was selected by the Buffalo Bills with the 16th pick. Manuel was a surprise pick as most experts had him pegged as a second round pick. It’s been 16 years since Jim Kelly retired, and the Buffalo Bills have never adequately replaced him. Manuel will get the next shot. The next quarterback to go was projected first round pick, Geno Smith. He went to the New York Jets in the second round. Quarterbacks ended up being selected with picks 16, 39, 73, 98, and 110. Just how bad was the quarterback position this year you ask. Cleveland, Jacksonville, Kansas City and Minnesota, all candidates to take one, drafted a total of zero passers.

The demise of the runningback continues. The first back taken in the draft ended up being former UNC standout, Giovani Bernard. He went to the Cincinnati Bengals with the 37th pick. This was the first time since 1973 a runner wasn’t picked in the first round.

The Arizona Cardinals ended up being the franchise who decided to take a chance on the talented Tyrann Mathieu from LSU. Proving that character means little in the NFL, Arizona used its third round pick to choose “Honeybear.” Mathieu was kicked off the LSU team for multiple positive drug tests last August, then arrested in October for marijuana possession, ruining any chance he had to be reinstated to the team. Cardinals fans hope that Mathieu is not seen on the police blotter.

There was another interesting quarterback story in the draft. Matt Barkley likely cost himself over $10 million by misjudging when to enter the draft. He likely would have been a top-five pick last spring but chose to stay in school. After a disappointing season culminating with a shoulder injury, the USC Trojan ended up being taken with the first pick in the fourth round, 96th overall, by the Philadelphia Eagles. Fourth round picks do not make much money compared to early first round picks. Barkley was quoted as saying he did not regret his decision. What a politically correct statement to make? Who is he kidding?

Tebow Is Released

The expected move finally happened Monday morning when the New York Jets have waived quarterback Tim Tebow. As I write this Tuesday night, no one has signed the controversial quarterback.

It is hard to believe that it has only been 15 months since Tebow led the Denver Broncos to a Wild Card win over the Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Jets drafted West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith with the eighth pick in the second round of the NFL Draft on Friday and were carrying six QBs on the roster, including Mark Sanchez, former Jaguars quarterback David Garrard and Greg McElroy. Parting ways with Tebow brings the Jets down to five QBs. Most think that Sanchez will be the next signalcaller to be released by the Jets, who clearly need a fresh start at that position. Tebow did little for the Jets though he was not given much of a chance. He attempted just eight passes all season while backing up Sanchez who had one of the worst statistical seasons in NFL history.

It is starting to look like Canada may be Tebow’s only hope to play quarterback at the professional level. No one in the NFL seems to want him. Personally, I do not blame other NFL teams for their lack of interest. Tebow’s an unproductive media distraction.

Tebow exits the Jets

New York ruined him Tebow. By accepting the trade to the Jets, Tebow became irrelevant. The Jets played games with him from the start. He spoke of being promised a shot at being a starter. The Jets say he does not practice well and that is why he did not see the field, no matter how bad Sanchez was. Actually, if his days are over, it was a stunning and quick fall.

I have some thoughts on teams that pundits feel could be in Tebow’s future.

I do not see it working out with the New England Patriots. The thinking is that he would play another position with the Pats. I say it does not make sense because the Patriots don’t like cameras snooping all over the place.

I would not rule out New Orleans. This team is used to media attention. And there would not be a controversy over playing time because no one would expect Tebow to challenge Drew Brees. The Saints would get attention for something other than head coach Sean Payton’s return to the field. Give Tebow some time with good offensive minds and maybe he could progress as a quarterback.

I kind of like Chicago. The Bears have a franchise quarterback they’re clearly comfortable with in Jay Cutler, but he’s also in the final year of his contract. They have had major issues with their back-up quarterbacks in years past. I happen to think Tebow is better then current Chicago backup, Josh McCown.

It will be an interesting summer for Tebow and his legion of fans.

 


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