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News » Carolina Panthers Inside Slant 2009-04-27

Carolina Panthers Inside Slant 2009-04-27

Carolina Panthers Inside Slant 2009-04-27

After spending last year's draft upgrading their offense, the Panthers turned their attention to the defense in 2009.

The Panthers spent their first three picks on defense, including trading up to the upper portion of the second round to get defensive end Everette Brown from Florida State. That move cost the team a first-round draft pick in 2010 (although the 49ers did throw in this year's fourth-rounder). Carolina then nabbed cornerback Sherrod Martin from Troy with their other second-round pick and selected defensive tackle Corvey Irvin from Georgia with their third selection.

Panthers' general manager Marty Hurney admitted the move to get Brown was a calculated risk, but the team felt confident about it.

"Sure it is, every time you do it," Hurney said. "But you do it for players you think can come in and help you right away. When you look at giving up next year's first for a guy like Everette Brown, you have him for a year and he's that much better in 2010 (with a year of NFL experience under his belt)."

Hurney said the Panthers had a first-round grade on Brown.

"I think he will get better every year but he does have the ability to come in and help us right away," Hurney said. "It's always hard. You do think about it. You only do it for the right player and we felt like he was the right player. And getting the fourth-rounder will help us."

Ironically, Brown grew up about 30 miles from where Peppers was raised and said he's been a fan of the Panthers most of his life.

"If I had one team that I could have went to it would have been the Carolina Panthers," Brown said. "I didn't think I had a chance of playing for the Panthers. That is my hometown team and the team I grew up watching."

The 6-2, 256-pound Brown was a two-year starter who emerged as one of the elite pass rushers in the collegiate ranks as a junior. With NFL teams putting much more emphasis on speedy edge rushers, Brown felt it was the right time to forgo his senior season and applied for the 2009 NFL draft.

In 25 starts the right defensive end registered 23 sacks, tying for fifth on the school career record list.

"We thought that Everette Brown was one of the better pass rushers in this draft," Hurney said. "He's got all of the intangibles and is a very hard worker. He has a good first step and plays with good strength. I think he helps our pass rush immediately and will work in the rotation with the ends."

Martin spent the majority of his career as a safety at Troy, but also spent time at cornerback, the position he'll play for the Panthers, Hurney said.

"He's very explosive. He's a tough kid and a hard hitter," Hurney said. "Everybody at the school has great things to say about him and they have produced some great players. We think again that he can come in and be in the mix at corner. He has plays nickel before and safety and special teams. He's just a very good player."

Said Martin: "I'm athletic enough to play wherever they need me."

BEST PICK: Although the Panthers gave up a first-round pick in 2010 to get him, going up to get defensive end Everette Brown was good move. Not only did it fill a need, there's no way he should have slipped all the way to No. 43 in the opinion of the Panthers' brass, which had a first-round grade on him.

COULD SURPRISE: OG Duke Robinson, despite being selected in the fifth round, could find his way to a starting spot at right guard, or at the very least provide some depth for the Panthers.

A closer look at the Panthers' picks:

Round 2/43 -- Everette Brown, DE, 6-2, 256, Florida State

The Panthers wanted him so badly they traded next year's first-round pick to San Francisco in order to get him at No. 43. (The Panthers also picked up a fourth-round pick this year). He provides a long-term replacement for Julius Peppers, who has said he wants out of Carolina but is the team's franchise player. The Panthers believe Brown will pep up their pass rush.

Round 2/59 -- Sherrod Martin, CB, 6-1, 198, Troy

The Panthers needed a replacement for Ken Lucas and view Martin as a good fit in Ron Meeks' new defensive scheme. He will open up as the nickel back playing behind starters Chris Gamble and Richard Marshall, who is also a former second-round pick.

Round 3/93 -- Corvey Irvin, DT, 6-3, 303, Georgia

Irvin transferred to Georgia from a military school and played only two seasons for the Bulldogs, one as a starter. Still, the Panthers saw enough of him to make him a third-round pick. The pick could be considered a stretch to fill a dire need. He will be the backup to Maake Kemoeatu and Damione Lewis.

Round 4/111 -- Mike Goodson, RB, 5-10, 209, Texas A&M

Goodson replaces Nick Goings as the team's No. 3 back behind starter DeAngelo Williams and backup Jonathan Stewart. He will see some action as a slot receiver and could get a look as a returner.

Round 4/128 -- Tony Fiammetta, FB, 6-0, 245, Syracuse

The Panthers view him as a possible long-term replacement for starting fullback Brad Hoover, who at 33 years old might begin to show some wear and tear. Hoover's still the guy, but with as much as the Panthers run the ball it would help to have someone to take the pressure off him.

Round 5/163 -- Duke Robinson, OG, 6-5, 329, Oklahoma

Robinson had plenty of success in college and could wind up starting at right guard if Keydrick Vincent can't return from a groin injury. If nothing else, Robinson can serve as a versatile backup, big enough to shift from guard to tackle.

Round 7/216 -- Captain Munnerlyn, CB, 5-9, 182, South Carolina

The Panthers moved down from pick 202 to No. 216 and picked up an extra late-round pick in 2010 from the Raiders before selecting Munnerlyn. He'll play special teams and challenge for the fourth cornerback spot.

Author:Fox Sports
Author's Website:http://www.foxsports.com
Added: April 27, 2009

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Evan Mathis Name: Evan Mathis
Position: OG
Age: 26
Experience: 4 years
College: Alabama
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