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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Five Things That Will Happen - Draft Day

Here are five things I'm essentially guaranteeing will happen on Draft Day*:

*We'll trade.
Carolina has traded future first round picks in each of the last two drafts, but that's not a new idea for Carolina. Carolina has traded up or down witin the first three rounds of the draft each year since 2002.

*We'll surprise.

Remember how, in 2001, 2002, and 2003 it was blatantly obvious what we were going to do? Sure, those were high picks, but they were deliberate. Since then, the team has largely surprised. This year doesn't hold much less intrigue - common thoughts have the team picking at WR, and yet it could be any number of things in a deep draft. What fans have determined may not be how things unfold.

*We'll focus.

The last two years, Carolina has pooled resources to make one area better. In 2008, they pooled resources into the run game, and it's paid off in 3rd overall run offenses each year since. In 2009, they made pass defense a priority, and they finished 4th in pass yards.

Carolina surprised me in 2008, with a surgically repaired Jake Delhomme (who'd had massive success early in 2007 in the new offense), returning Muhsin Muhammad and adding DJ Hackett. It looked like Carolina was going to go more pass-first. You expect a left tackle, and before you know it you've drafted a 230 lb back and

Same for 2009. You expect them to pickup a DT, refocus against the run. Before you know it, we've traded a future first for an end, we've got a CB, and a DT that doesn't stop the run.

*We'll draft linebackers.

The team has kept some, and cycled some out, but since John Fox came on board they've drafted a linebacker every year except 2003 and 2009.

The team has pending contract situations with Thomas Davis and Jon Beason; they'd lose James Anderson next year and Dan Connor would be a restricted free agent. They cut starter Na'il Diggs and backup Landon Johnson. So, they need a player to back Beason, and a fast special teamer at WLB.

*We'll draft some beef.

Carolina has drafted an offensive lineman in each of John Fox and Marty Hurney's seasons here. Actually, only Dom Capers spent sparingly on rookie linemen - the team has drafted an OL in each draft since 1999. The team has good depth - they lost only one lineman of their active eight, with two stepping up last year to start in injury situations. It might be a center or left tackle, but they'll grab some more depth - continuous replenishing of line depth is a key to strength and having it at good value.

*"Draft Day" still much less complicated to say than "three-day draft primetime special"
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