After a five-year hiatus away from the NFL, Carolina Panthers’ general manager Marty Hurney ran his first draft since 2012 last week and found nothing much had changed. Maybe that’s because he was not only back in the NFL but back in his old office with the Panthers.
Hurney visited with Talk of Fame Network this week to talk about how he made the hard decision to select Maryland wide receiver D.J. Moore over Alabama’s Calvin Ridley and what it felt like to be back in the middle of the action on Draft Day.
“It was like riding a bike,’’ Hurney said. “A lot of the same guys were in the draft room. It’s still all about preparation. It fell right for us. (The draft is) the thing you miss the most. The juice the draft brings.’’
What it brought to Carolina, Hurney hopes, is an elite receiver to pair with quarterback Cam Newton, who by the way was another Hurney pick that hit from his first tenure with the Panthers.
So how did he settle on Moore over Ridley?
“It was close,’’ Hurney admitted. “We didn’t expect them both to still be there. The difference was we felt D.J is elite with the ball in his hands after the catch. DJ’s skill set is a little different than what we have. But both are going to be excellent receivers in this league.’’
Hurney goes on to explain why he took cornerbacks in consecutive picks, his philosophy of best player available over need and having learned an important lesson about love while he was away from the GM’s office.
Also joining Talk of Fame is Houston Chronicle sportswriter and Hall of Fame voter John McClain. McClain is the latest in our continuing series exploring who are the best players not yet in the Hall. McClain discusses not only candidates with the Houston Texans but goes into the wayback machine to recall absent Houston Oilers like owner Bud Adams, Charlie Hennigan, Billy “White Shoes’’ Johnson and Bob Talamini. You also don’t want to miss John’s hilarious story of how many white Cadillacs Adams had to buy his wife after giving her’s to former Heisman Trophy winner Billy Cannon as part of the recruitment effort to keep him from signing with the NFL in the AFL’s first weeks in business.
Football historian John Turney returns to debate the Hall of Fame worthiness of retiring tight ends Jason Witten and Antonio Gates, Colts’ pass rusher Dwight Freeney and kick return sensation Devon Hester. Do any of them belong? You may be surprised at his answers.
Our Hall of Fame co-hosts, Ron Borges, Rick Gosselin and Clark Judge, also debate the winners and losers in this year’s draft, the Patriots odd obsession with wheeling and dealing after making eight trade in three days and who got the best quarterback.
The last time five quarterbacks were taken in the first round was 1999. Three were busts, Daunte Culpepper was dogged with injuries and Donovan McNabb, whose selection was booed mercifully that day, became a Pro Bowl player. What will the ratio be this year? Our guys discuss.
Ron also states the Hall of Fame case for former Supreme Court Justice Byron “Whizzer’’ White, who he clams had as productive a three years in the 1940s as Terrell Davis had in the 1990s. If the latter’s in the Hall, why isn’t Whizzer?
Rick, our resident Dr. Data, brings the numbers to wrap up the Hall of Fame drafting career of long-time Baltimore Ravens’ GM Ozzie Newsome. Ozzie made his 190th and final pick last week as he moves into semi-retirement and Rick has the data. Those numbers are as impressive as the ones Newsome put up as a Hall of Fame tight end with the Cleveland Browns.
To hear it all tune in to your local SB Nation radio station Wednesdays nights or you can listen to our free podcast at iTunes or on the TuneIn app. You can also access the show at any time on our website, talkoffamenetwork.com.