Scott Fowler

Hey Scott: Readers rate Panthers’ best, worst draft picks ever

Former Carolina Panther Armanti Edwards, shown here making a catch in a 2013 practice, received a number of mentions among Panthers fans as one of the teams’ worst draft picks ever.
Former Carolina Panther Armanti Edwards, shown here making a catch in a 2013 practice, received a number of mentions among Panthers fans as one of the teams’ worst draft picks ever. dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

I asked readers in this space last Sunday and online to answer two questions for me:

1. Who was the best Panthers draft pick of all time?

2. Who was the worst Panthers draft pick of all time?

There were lots of great responses. Steve Smith (a third-rounder) and Luke Kuechly (a first-rounder) got more votes than anyone else for “best pick,” while the imprisoned Rae Carruth (a first-rounder) was the clear choice for “worst pick.” See below for a small sampling of what readers thought.

Aaron wrote: Best draft pick? It has to be Steve Smith, both for the longevity of his contributions to the franchise (and community) and the value, coming from the third round. Cam Newton, Luke Kuechly and Jordan Gross also deserve a nod here.

Worst draft pick? It depends on what you’re looking for. Guys like Mitch Marrow, Tyler Gaffney and, to a lesser extent, Eric Shelton left no imprint.

But the worst draft pick will be Rae Carruth, though from a statistics perspective he at least contributed in some games, despite what we all know he did away from the field. I’d actually go with Jason Peter, though. Nothing against the guy, but Vonnie Holliday was on the board and with a first-round pick that underperformed before getting hurt; it doesn’t get much worse.

Jay wrote: Given that the obvious best/worst are Steve Smith and Rae Carruth, I’m going to go the slightly less obvious path ...

BEST: Jordan Gross. Rock solid as a talent, a locker room leader, and a high character guy from the time he was selected in the 2003 draft. From exemplary work on and off the field (and no off-field incidents), Gross was the epitome of what you’d want in every Panther draft pick.

WORST: Jeff Otah. In 2008, we traded with the Eagles into the late first round to pick up Otah as a blocker for Jonathan Stewart ... He disappeared into a fog of injuries. Typically, the Panthers hit on their first-rounders and get dicey in the later rounds. Trading up for another first-rounder and then ending up with a bust is a major hit and makes Otah my vote for worst.

A commenter to the “Scott Says” blog wrote: Best value was Smitty by far. But best pick ever has to be Luke Kuechly or Julius Peppers because they will be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and were the reasons we won many games. Worst, for me, is Armanti Edwards. The hype was just insane compared to the value.

On Twitter: @dab261 chose Muhsin Muhammad for the best and Eric Shelton for the worst. @DSimpson88 wrote: “Smitty best, Dwayne Jarrett worst.” And @95KeepPounding voted for Sione Fua as the worst, saying the former defensive lineman’s last name could have stood for “Fundamentally Useless A-gapper.”

Next week:

For next week in this space, I would like fans to pretend like they are Hornets general manager Rich Cho and weigh in on the one personnel move above all others that the Charlotte Hornets should make in the next few months to avoid another disappointing season in 2015-16. The most interesting responses will be published. Email responses to sfowler@charlotteobserver.com, post them on my “Scott Says” blog or tweet them to @Scott_Fowler.

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