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Panthers And The Draft

May 15, 2014

Early grades from national media outlets concerning the Carolina Panthers’ draft last week has drawn mixed reviews.  

The team’s third round pick, guard, Trai Turner, received a ton of accolades and is expected to move into the starting offensive line. There were also universally positive thoughts for the team’s fifth round pick, cornerback Bene Benwikere. He also could find himself starting as a rookie. Another late round pick, defensive lineman Kony Ealy out of Missouri, was often described as a second round steal.  

Trai Turner

Not many experts seem to like Carolina’s first round pick, receiver Kelvin Benjamin. I tend to agree as all I read and heard about the Florida State prospect is that he is a project with potential. In case you forgot, the Panthers need receivers who can contribute immediately since the franchise let their top three receivers, including Steve Smith, go during the offseason.  

Other picks include Tre Boston who is a nice-sized safety who will help in the defensive backfield, and Stanford running back Tyler Gaffney who fits the Panthers’ power running game.
The Rest Of The Story  

Here is a story that often goes unreported after NFL Drafts. Did you know that 36 of the 98 underclassmen who declared for the draft went unselected? That’s a failure rate of almost 40 percent.  

Team officials always state that the undrafted just are not ready for the NFL game. I do not think that statement should be taken as a blanket statement. After all, 62 underclassmen did get taken. Half the first round was early entries. No. 1 overall pick Jadeveon Clowney led a select group that included four of the first six and six of the first 10 picks being underclassmen.  

Jadeveon Clowney

What is happening is that this generation is not as patient. Couple that with agents who are providing the players with bad information and false hope regarding draft status. You can bet that the agents are not educating their clients on what happens afterward if you are not drafted or fail to make a team as a free agent.  

The shame of it all is that the undrafted cannot return to their school and play football. As soon as they sign with an agent, they are no longer amateur athletes.   

Sam Gets Selected By Rams  

An underlying story during the three-day NFL draft was the question of Michael Sam being drafted. Sam, the SEC’s Defensive Player of the Year, announced to the world that he is gay late last season. This was a first for the NFL and there was a question if a team would select the defensive end out of Missouri.  

Sam did get chosen, with pick number 249 in the seventh round, by the St. Louis Rams. Then came the kiss. Sam’s male partner was present with numerous others when Sam got the call from the Rams. So were the television cameras. 

On national TV. It’s a scene we haven’t seen in American TV history and it ran unedited and uninterrupted by ESPN. Sam kissed the man.  

Michael Sam

The world is changing, and the Rams and Sam and the NFL and ESPN made note of it on Saturday with pictures.

Veteran ESPN NFL producer Seth Markman, whose job it was to determine what pictures from the draft America got to see over the weekend, and who let the video of Michael Sam and his partner kissing run at length, stated that his instincts were to just let it roll.  

ESPN aired reality. It was gripping TV. Kudos to ESPN.

Crab Leg-Gate  

The Jameis Winston saga continues. Remember the incident a few weeks ago when the Heisman Trophy winner from Florida State received a citation for shoplifting crab legs at a Tallahassee grocery store?  

The Seminoles quarterback’s father put the story back out in the news earlier this week when he stated that he and the school need to do a better job of keeping the Jameis out of trouble.  

Wait a second.  Can someone please talk about personal responsibility to Mr. Jameis. I can’t believe that Dad feels that at 20-years old, he and the coach need to make sure Jameis doesn’t do something stupid like steal crab legs.  If his son hasn’t learned that that is wrong by now, he is the one who has the problem.  

The father went on to state that he felt the school is supposed to have someone around his son 24/7.

That’s a sad thing for someone to say—someone should be with a 20 yr old 24/7 to keep him from stealing.  If right and wrong are not instilled in him by now, he’s not likely to learn it while being coddled and excused in college and in the NFL. Sounds like Winston feels more entitled each step of the way. 

In the end, with the 2013 rape allegations against him ending without charges and the crab leg theft highly likely to not result in a football suspension, Winston’s on-field career isn’t likely to see any setbacks from his off-field image issues. Stay tuned for how he does off the field.  

After all, at what point does responsibility fall to one’s self? A 20 year old needs to be babysat? All that tells me is he is not ready for the real world. What’s going to happen when and if he gets to the NFL? Is a coach going to want to draft someone who he has to babysit to keep him out of trouble?







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