Since I can’t speak for Curtis, I can’t shed much light on what that was about.
What I can tell you is in the short-term, the room will be led by assistants Jeff Imamura and Richard Rogers. From there, Ron Rivera has some options. He could let both continue sharing responsibilities or promote one into the lead role.
Or Rivera could look outside the building.
Perhaps he'll consider calling Hall of Famer Rod Woodson, who helped coach the Raiders secondary the past three seasons. Or maybe Rivera could talk defensive-minded former head coaches Chuck Pagano or Steve Spagnuolo into coming to Carolina. They may not be up for taking a job like defensive backs coach, but it wouldn’t hurt to ask.
Which leads to …
Website submission from Chris in Steamboat Springs, CO: Since the Panthers elected not to take a running back in the draft, do you see the team trying to sign a top-tier free agent like CJ Anderson or DeMarco Murray?
First, a point of clarification: They didn’t necessarily “elect” to leave the draft without a running back or interior lineman. They had a number of targets at both spots who either didn’t fall to them or would’ve cost too much to move up to get. Sure, the Panthers passed on a familiar name like Bo Scarbrough, but so did 30 other teams. And Dallas passed on the former Alabama back eight times before they finally took him off the board midway through the seventh round.
But I digress.
Between Anderson and Murray, the former makes more sense. Murray’s 3.6 yards per carry in Tennessee last season tied a career low, and he turned 30 in February. Anderson is just 27 and racked up 1,007 yards for the Broncos in 2017. The Panthers haven’t had a 1,000-yard rusher since DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart each broke 1K in 2009.
That date is actually May 8. Any signing after 4 p.m. next Tuesday doesn't count toward the comp pick formula.
I don’t think they’ll go safety shopping soon, but again, running back is certainly possible.
Another clarification: Because they were released from their respective teams, the Panthers could sign Murray or Anderson before May 8 without penalty. The backs they’d have to wait on are unrestricted free agents like Eddie Lacy, Alfred Morris and Orleans Darkwa. Those options aren’t all that interesting anyway.
Would love to see an upset by Liverpool and breakout star Mohamed Salah (sure would be nice if my middling Chelsea could ever get someone like that in its system. Wait, what?).
Unfortunately, I see Cristiano Ronaldo winning a fifth Champions League.
Oh, and if you’re wondering what the heck I’m babbling about, sorry. Just a little soccer talk.
And now back to your regularly scheduled programming ...
It’s a bit too early for stuff like this, but I’ll bite.
Let’s assume these seven are the realistic options: Moore, Devin Funchess, Torrey Smith, Curtis Samuel, Damiere Byrd, Jarius Wright and Russell Shepard. You’d have to think Shepard is the odd man out unless they REALLY value his special teams ability.
I imagine they’ll keep six, but if they opt for just five (and if Samuel is healthy), the odd man out would be Byrd or Wright.
No, but let’s play out the string just for fun.
- In 24 drafts, the Panthers have picked only two players from Alabama: defensive end Kindal Moorehead (2003) and offensive lineman Evan Mathis (2005).
- Of the nearly 50 former Crimson Tide currently in the NFL, none are on Carolina’s roster. The last Alabama product to play in Charlotte was wideout Kevin Norwood (one game in 2015).
- The Panthers had obvious needs at running back and safety in this draft but passed on multiple opportunities to take Alabama guys like Scarbrough and safety Ronnie Harrison.
Few understand how close Dave Gettleman came to drafting Alabama tight end O.J. Howard last year, and if not for ’s ability after the catch, Alabama wideout Calvin Ridley would’ve been this year’s first-round pick.
Sometimes things like what you’re asking about are just coincidence and not conspiracy.
Jaire Alexander wasn’t in the cards, but Donte Jackson could be a nice consolation prize.
Sprinters and DBs are some of the best talkers in sports and Jackson is both. Fingers crossed he’ll remain as comfortable in front of the media as he was during Saturday’s intro press conference.
But as I wrote when stumping for Alexander, this isn’t just me wanting someone to make the job more fun. I think the Panthers secondary desperately needs a guy who will spice things up back there.