Greg Hardy

2010 Draft Grades: Panthers

Considering they didn’t own a 1st-round pick, you simply couldn’t have asked for anything more from the Panthers in this draft.

Jimmy Clausen is a a top-10 talent. There’s simply no denying that fact. However, there are concerns about his mental makeup. And apparently NFL teams were even more concerned about that aspect of his game than many anticipated. Despite those concerns, he was absolutely worth a gamble in the 2nd round. Perhaps his draft-day fall will serve as a wake-up call and motivate him to live up to his potential.

While I love the pick of Clausen, I will say this: I hope they didn’t take him just because they didn’t know any better. 30 other teams passed over Clausen, and some (even some that desperately needed a quarterback) did so more than once. That makes you wonder just how bad he was during the interview process. Unfortunately the Panthers probably never did their homework on him they way they would have if they owned a top-10 pick. It seemed highly unlikely that he would fall to No. 48 entering the draft, meaning they likely never considered the possibility that they would have the opportunity to draft him.

I love the selection of Brandon LaFell in the 3rd round. He had a disappointing senior year, but I believe he has 1st-round talent. He may not have the speed to be a truly elite N0. 1 receiver, but he can become an excellent possession receiver in the mold of Hines Ward. He had great value in the 3rd round.

As much as I like the selections of LaFell and Clausen, I hate the selection of Armanti Edwards. He was a huge reach in the 3rd round and to make matters worse, they gave up next year’s 2nd-round pick to get him. With guys like Taylor Price and Mardy Gilyard still on the board, it just wasn’t a smart selection.

I was very surprised that Eric Norwood fell the 4th round and I think he’s a great fit in Carolina. He may take some time to develop, since he primarily played defensive end in college, but he could develop into a starter. Strong-side linebacker is a position of weakness for the Panthers, so if he comes along quickly he could see playing time sooner rather than later.

Greg Hardy is a tough player to judge, but he’s worth the risk in the 6th round. When healthy, he’s looked like a 1st-round talent. He’s an elite pass rusher who can impact the game immediately if he can stay on the field. Unfortunately, he just can’t stay healthy.

David Gettis is a big, athletic receiver who has a ton of upside. He’ll need some time to develop, but he’s a nice developmental prospect. He has the potential to emerge as the best receiver of the Panthers three draft picks, but he’s the least likely to make an immediate impact.

Jordan Pugh will add depth to the Panthers secondary and likely contribute on special teams. He’s played both cornerback and safety in his career, but will likely play safety in the NFL.

The Panthers obviously didn’t need to take another quarterback, but in the 6th round Tony Pike was too good to pass up. Its a great situation for Pike, who really needs to sit for two or three years to bulk up and develop as a quarterback. He has the tools to potentially start someday, but he’s a few years away from entering into a real quarterback competition.

R.J. Stanford and Robert McClain will both add to the Panthers depth at cornerback. Neither has a ton of upside, but the Panthers needed to improve their depth. They’re both safe 7th round picks who have a good chance to make the roster.

The Panthers took a lot of chances in this draft, but I think they picked their spots perfectly. They landed three players with 1st-round talent (Clausen, LaFell and Hardy), each of whom fell in the draft for various reasons. Just based on the odds of success in the NFL, at least one of them will likely be a complete bust, but they were all well worth the pick the Panthers spent to acquire them. When we look at the Panthers roster three years from now, I expect to see three starters from this draft class and that’s all you can ask for – especially considering they didn’t use a 1st-round pick.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in Draft Grades - 2010, Panthers 1 Comment

East/West Shrine Game Interviews

shrinegameMike Band is hanging out at the East/West Shrine Game practices this week. On Monday he got a chance to catch up with some of the prospects. Here’s what they had to say…

O’Brien Schofield, LB Wisconsin

How do you feel about the transition from defensive end to linebacker?
I came out here today to show that I can stand up and play on the outside. It’s been a great time showing my skills and that I can make that transition. I’m gonna show I’m a coverage linebacker.

What did you measure during the weigh-in?
I measured in this morning at 6’2, 242. I was listed at 250 but I lost weight during the year.

How was today’s practice different than at Wisconsin?
The biggest thing I noticed was that these coaches are keeping it simple. They’re allowing everyone to understand the situation.

What’s your biggest asset when you step on the football field?
I will be able to cover well, man on man and stuff like that.

What scouts have showed interest in you the last few days?
I had interviews from Scouts from Carolina, Chicago, Philadelphia, Kansas City, San Francisco, Washington, Atlanta and New England.

Most of the teams are 43 teams, how do you feel about that?
I’m likely gonna have to stand up and play strong side linebacker and I feel I can work in any scheme. But I would love to put my hand down and just get up and go.


Freddie Barnes, WR Bowling Green

Where are you training to develop your skills?
I’ve been working with Tony Valeri from XPE in South Florida for my training. I’ve been there for two weeks. I didn’t get invited to the combine so I’m just getting ready for my pro day which is on April 18 th

What scouts have showed interest in you the last few days?
Scouts from the Falcons, Bears, Panthers, Bucs and Chiefs all have approached me.

150 catches in one season is a feat no one has ever accomplished. Who do you attribute to your success?
I thank God first and foremost because I’ve been injured for the majority of my first four years. Me and Tyler Sheehan have been together for three years now and we just have a great understanding of each other.

You’re not a blazing fast wideout, nor are you the tallest, what’s your biggest asset and what allows you to get so open so often?
I played quarterback all throughout high school and through my sophomore year at Bowling Green. That allowed me to develop a great knowledge for the game. I feel like I’m much better at going through reads because of it.

What has your experience been like here at this All-Star Game?
It’s been nice here in Orlando because for years it was always about the team and making the group better. Now scouts are getting to know me and hopefully I can show what I can do on the field.


Greg Hardy, DE Ole Miss

How has the draft process been for you?
It’s fun to be out here. I’m certainly excited to be out in this great weather.

You missed some time with a wrist injury. Has that effected your play at all?
My wrist feels good, I’m not having too much of a problem with it, there aren’t any lingering effects and it’s for sure 100%.

Where are you training to develop your skills?
I’m currently training at Michael Johnson’s speed camp to work in preparation for the combine

How crazy does this whole process get and what kind of questions are you getting?
It’s been very repetitive, most of these scouts ask the same basic questions, but it’s still fun. You just gotta have a good attitude out here and good things will happen.

Where do you feel more comfortable, on the right or left side?
I’m more natural on the right, that’s where I’ve always played but I can also play on the left. But I do believe I have the versatility to stand up and play linebacker and do all that.

What did you measure during the weigh-in?
I weighed in at 279, I dropped 9 lbs since the start of the season.


Patrick Simonds, WR Colgate

What do you expect to run in the 40 time?
If I told you, you wouldn’t believe me. I’ve been running a 4.48, 4.49 which is pretty impressive at my size. I have the size and athleticism and I’m willing to work at it to get better.


Darrell Stuckey, S Kansas

I read a recent KU article labeling you the ‘Tim Tebow’ of the Kansas defense. How do you feel about that?
I’m not as vocal as Tim is, but I do lead by example and I’m heard when I need to. But he’s a great guy and he’s made a great impact on the game.

Where are you training to develop your skills?
Right now I’ve been training for the combine and just reflecting what I want to do with the rest of my life.

How has Kansas prepared you for the next level?
Coach Bowen has done a fantastic job in preparing us throughout my career.

What did you measure during the weigh-in?
I measured in at 5’11, 207

Do you prefer strong or free safety?
I played both Free and strong throughout my career but I played strong as a senior because we didn’t have much else. I do feel comfortable at either position though.

Which wide receiver was the toughest you faced all season?
Jordan Shipley would probably be the guy, he’s the toughest receiver we faced all season, he’s versatile and strong yet he finds ways to get open.


Seyi Aijrotutu, WR Fresno State

What did you measure during the weigh-in?
I measured in at 6’3, 211, not quite the 6’4 I was listed at. I’ve never even been 6’3!

What’s it like out there during practice and do you feel you’re prepared for the next level?
I feel like I have what it takes. It’s a mindset that you have to put yourself in. Everyone’s on the same skill level, same quickness out here. Everyone just makes plays. Luckily I didn’t drop a ball out here today so I’m feeling good.

Where are you training for the combine?
I’m training in West Lake, California

What are you expecting to run in the 40?
I think I can run a 4.5, that’s been my main focus just running 40′s after 40′s. 4.5 would be adequate for my size so I’m just working hard.

What would you like to take out of this week of practice?
I’m just looking forward to having fun. I just want to come out here and play and play well.

It looked like you and Verran Tucker were having some laughs out there. Is he your biggest competition out here?
Absolutely, I think Tucker and I are the top dogs out here and we’ve were going back and forth all day. He’s a Cal guy, I’m from Fresno State so the whole rivalry thing is making this fun.

Any of these corners have your number today?
No way. Hah, no but Brian Jackson and I had some fun out there. We train at the same place together so it’s been a good time.


Dennis Pitta, TE BYU

How has your college experience prepared you for the road ahead?
I feel like I’m very well prepared, I’m much more mature in age than some of these guys and certainly my college experience has prepared me the right way.

What did you measure during the weigh-in?
I measured in at 6’4, 245.

What’s it like having Max Hall throw you passes out here?
It’s nice because it feels comfortable. It’s obviously going to be an adjustment when you have new quarterbacks throwing to you.

Where are you training for the combine?
I’ve been training at Velocity, it’s in Urbine, California.

What’s your biggest asset on the football field?
Just being able to catch the football. I’ve been the go-to guy at BYU and I feel like I can continue that role. I want to be the guy that a quarterback can count on when needed.


Max Hall, QB BYU

So what do you think of former teammate Dennis Pitta?
He’s a great player. He was my main target for three years and we had a blast together.

If I’m an NFL GM, why should I draft you?
I can make all of the throws necessary and I know I can command and lead a huddle. I may be a little small but I can stand in the pocket and make the throws they ask of me.

Where are you training for the combine?
I’ve been training in Scottsdale, Arizona, just trying to get bigger and stronger while still improving my arm strength.

How has this week of practice helped you develop as a player?
Learning from these coaches is very helpful. These guys know what they’re talking about and they are certainly preparing me for the next step.

Posted on by Ryan McCrystal in 2010 NFL Draft Comments Off