Hurney speaks about Jenkins, adding DT

Panthers GM Marty Hurney talks about losing Jenkins, gaining draft picks and how he plans on filling the void left by the mammoth man in the middle.

Gone are the days where you could trade a dominant defensive tackle for multiple first round picks. Remember back in 1998 when the Panthers surrendered 2 first round picks to the Washington Redskins after signing DT Sean Gilbert, who was designated as the Skins' franchise player? It hasn't happened since then -- and for good reason. First round picks are valuable, and that move crippled the Panthers for years to come, both because they lost two first round picks and because Gilbert took up a great deal of the salary cap.

Now, the going rate for Pro Bowl defensive tackles are a third and fifth round pick. Both the Lions and Panthers picked up a pair of extra picks for sending their elite defensive tackles to AFC teams.

"We've had several conversations with Kris over the last year or so, and we decided this was the right direction for both parties," said Panthers general manager Marty Hurney. "Kris has been an extremely valuable player to us. He's going to a good organization. We just came to a decision after talking to Kris over the last year that this was the time to go ahead and make this move."

Jenkins wasn't happy in Carolina, but didn't make a huge public stink about it. He'd stated in the past that he preferred to be in a bigger city, one closer to his home in Maryland, but stopped short of taking his plight to the media.

"I think that Kris is very happy going up to the Jets," Hurney Said. "They are another good organization. I think that he's happy with it, but it certainly wasn't the result of any specific request of where he wanted to go."

After the Panthers tried unsuccessfully to trade Jenkins for a first rounder last offseason, the Panthers decided to part ways with the enigmatic defensive tackle and accept 3rd and 5th round picks from the Jets. It's likely the Panthers will try to fill Jenkins' shoes with a pick in the upcoming draft.

"Draft picks are very hard to get these days," said Hurney. "People are very reluctant to trade picks, and I think that's a testament to how much the Jets value Kris Jenkins as a player. Draft picks are extremely valuable in this system. A high third and a high fifth raise our total to eight and add some flexibility for us in the draft as far as movement and things like that. Adding two draft picks is extremely hard these days, and we have to use them right. That's the key. We have to make the right decisions with them and make the right picks, and we're going to work very hard to do that."

Some of the players available currently on the free agent market are Rod Coleman, William Joseph, Jimmy Kennedy, Anthony McFarland, Larry Tripplett and Darwin Walker. The Panthers met with Coleman late last week, but he left without a contract.

"He's an extremely talented player," Hurney said of Coleman. "He's got 58 sacks in his career. He definitely applies the pressure from the inside. He's a very good player who had some injury problems last year, so we'll just see how that goes."

With their extra picks, it's likely they'll look to the draft to gain some talent and depth along the line. Players such as LSU's Glenn Dorsey, USC's Sedrick Ellis, Auburn's Pat Simms, Iowa St.'s Athyba Rubin, Florida St.'s Andre Fluellen and Arkansas' Marcus Harrison are players that should make an immediate impact with the team that drafts them.

"We will look to add depth in that area," said Hurney. "Any time you try to replace a player like Kris, it's difficult because he's a very talented player."

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