Friday Roundup: Panthers Build Around Clausen

What started off as a torturous day for QB Jimmy Clausen could not have ended any sweeter. After finding the ideal landing spot in Carolina, Clausen sat by as the Panthers surrounded him with a pair of playmakers.

The Panthers entered the draft with two positions squarely atop their to-do list: quarterback and wide receiver. And, boy, did GM Marty Hurney ever cross them off in emphatic fashion.

Much has been made of the selection of Jimmy Clausen and rightfully so. After all, it is not often a team lands one of college football's most prolific and efficient passers and in the middle of the second round.

Nonetheless, it will be difficult for Clausen to fulfill his potential in Carolina if he's surrounded by the same middling cast of pass-catchers that was provided to his predecessor.

To help put that concern to rest, the Panthers followed the selection of Clausen by picking up a pair of offensive playmakers.

First, Carolina tabbed LSU receiver Brandon LaFell with the No. 78 overall selection. LaFell led the Tigers last season with a career-high 11 TD catches. He comes from a program that has produced several NFL receivers in recent seasons, including 2007 first-round picks Dwayne Bowe and Buster Davis.

Next, the Panthers traded back into the third round for Appalachian State QB Armanti Edwards. The dynamic Edwards will change positions in the NFL, likely seeing the bulk of his time at receiver. He can also line up in the backfield and will give Coach John Fox an exciting Wildcat option.

The Panthers surrendered a 2011 second-round pick to get back into the third round and grab Edwards. Such a move is nothing new for Hurney, who has traded away future selections in each of the last three drafts.

The Panthers will have six more selections on the final day of the draft, including three in the sixth round and two in the seventh. The team's top priority for Saturday is building depth on the defensive line.

Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports.

Panther Insider Top Stories