CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Watching the NFL draft at home on television the past five years has given Marty Hurney a different perspective on how he'll approach his decision-making process in his second stint as Carolina Panthers general manager. Namely, Hurney said he won't be trading away next year's first-round draft pick.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Watching the NFL draft at home on television the past five years has given Marty Hurney a different perspective on how he'll approach his decision-making process in his second stint as Carolina Panthers general manager.
Namely, Hurney said he won't be trading away next year's first-round draft pick.
"I can tell you right now that you can consider next year's first-round pick safe," Hurney said with a laugh. "... We will probably be getting calls, so if you can just tweet that out."
Hurney, who left the Panthers in 2012 but was re-hired earlier this offseason, has a history of wheeling and dealing on the first day of the NFL draft.
In the 2008 draft, he traded away the team's first-round draft pick in 2009 to get offensive tackle Jeff Otah with the 19th overall pick. The following year he traded away his 2010 first-round draft pick to get defensive end Everette Brown in the second round. Neither moved panned out well for the Panthers.
"You step back and look at some of the things you have done," Hurney said. "You look at what you did and what you can do better. You also look at what you did well."
Overall, to be fair, Hurney has had plenty of success with first-round picks.
He hit home runs by drafting defensive end Julius Peppers (2002), offensive tackle Jordan Gross (2003), cornerback Chris Gamble (2004), linebacker Thomas Davis (2005), running back DeAngelo Williams (2006), linebacker Jon Beason (2007), running back Jonathan Stewart (2008), quarterback Cam Newton (2011) and linebacker Luke Kuechly (2012) in the first rounds. All of those players enjoyed — are or still enjoying — lengthy and successful NFL careers.
FREE TO ROAM AT 24
Hurney isn't tipping his hand when it comes to this year's draft, saying the Panthers could go in any direction with the 24th pick except quarterback. Overall, he feels good about the team's depth up and down the roster after free agency.
"There really isn't a position that you say, "OK, we have to get somebody there,'" Hurney said.
Hurney said ultimately the team's decision will come down to what players are left on the board and which one could have the biggest immediate impact based on position need.
While Hurney won't be taking a quarterback in the first round, he wouldn't rule out getting one in the later rounds as a potential backup for Newton. The Panthers still haven't decided whether or not to re-sign veteran Derek Anderson.
Hurney said one thing he learned from former Packers GM Ron Wolf was that drafting a quarterback later in a draft can pay big dividends since it is the one position that is the most highly coveted in the NFL.
"You are always looking at young quarterbacks," he said.
However, Hurney's previous decisions to take QBs late in the draft didn't work out so well with Randy Fasani, Stefan Lefors and Tony Pike. He also missed early on Jimmy Clausen.
Panthers coach Ron Rivera said new offensive coordinator Norv Turner has made it pretty clear what type of players would fit best in his offensive scheme. Rivera said he had a pretty good idea already of what Turner wants having worked under him when Turner was head coach of the San Diego Chargers.
HITS, MISSES AND BARGAINS
Dave Gettleman, now with the New York Giants, handled Carolina's drafts the past five seasons and he did pretty well with the team's top three draft picks each season.
He did well getting defensive tackle Kawann Short in the second round at No. 44 in 2013, wide receiver Devin Funchess in the second round and guard Trai Turner in the third round in 2014 and cornerback James Bradberry in the second round in 2016.
The Panthers have parted ways with defensive tackle Star Lotulelei (2013) and Kelvin Benjamin (2014), both first-round picks, but both are starters in Buffalo.
The jury is still out on 2016 first-round draft pick Vernon Butler, a defensive tackle who has struggled with injuries.
Two of the biggest bargains selected by Gettleman were linebackers A.J. Klein and David Mayo with fifth-round picks in 2013 and 2015, respectively.