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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Immediate Solution At 9 Pick
Carolina has no expectation of what position will be added with the 9th overall pick.   What the team does expect is a player to add to a starting role immediately.
Carolina expects help right up front from that player – the identity of which will depend much greater upon what falls to #9 than a specific need at this position or that position.  Head Coach Ron Rivera mentioned that they expect that player to start right away – that they’re not looking for a project.   The philosophy makes sense, but definitely steers toward ‘safer’ picks.  It essentially rules out the DTs (either underdeveloped, inexperienced, or underperforming) and WR, which is the most slow to develop position outside of QB, traditionally - and toward the DEs, LBs, and OL. 
If one were to guess, based on that statement, the pick would lean toward an OL.  If the team has OT Riley Reiff and/or G David Decastro rated around their pick or they have confidence that they’ll be there, which there’s a strong chance both will be, it would make sense to pencil that pick in.  Reiff makes more sense, being more versatile (he could slide in and play guard as needed for a year, where there’s certainly more resistance to Decastro moving outside), but he’s a little less likely to be available. 
As well, Hurney responded very favorably when asked about drafting linemen, suggesting you don’t pass up a chance to pick a player when able.   The scenario has merit – both from an immediate perspective and long term philosophy – the team has two guard positions open and loses on-again-off-again tackle Jeff Otah next year (if he’s even healthy).  A line prospect that starts for you, as a #9 pick certainly would, will play 1200 snaps for you in a year when healthy, where a DE would have trouble playing more than 2/3 that (with two incumbent starters, Greg Hardy would sit, but not every down).

For two linemen to be in range would allow the team to have that, at the very least, as a major consideration, with the best defender coming at pick 40.  The team would also have the ability to trade down and capture the best lineman (or defender) at around the 16 mark, where the Jets and Eagles seem motivated to move up.  The team is receptive to a trade down, but Hurney stated that a trade up was a lot less likely despite a few media rumors suggesting it.
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