• 57°

NFL: Panthers a rarity with five undrafted QBs

By Mike Cranston
Asosciated Press
CHARLOTTE ó The five Carolina Panthers quarterbacks stood at midfield Monday in their red jerseys, warning overzealous defensive players they were off limits.
Nobody dared to touch them during the optional workout, part of a firm football tradition to protect the guys playing the glamorous position.
Only these red-clad guys weren’t deemed that valuable on draft weekend. Carolina is the only NFL team without a QB taken in the draft.
“I must admit we’re pretty proud of the fact that there are no signing bonus babies in our quarterback room,” Jake Delhomme said.
Delhomme, Matt Moore, Brett Basanez, Lester Ricard and rookie Taylor Tharp have been cut a total of five times, have a combined four stints on NFL practice squads and one tour in the now-defunct NFL Europa.
“It wasn’t by design,” coach John Fox said of having five undrafted QBs. “It’s just how it worked out. They’re the best we got.”
Delhomme takes pride in being the leader of this unappreciated bunch.
After leaving Louisiana-Lafayette, Delhomme was waived three times by New Orleans and played in Europe. But when finally given a shot, Delhomme led the Panthers to the Super Bowl in the 2003 season, his first year as a starter.
Delhomme is now working his way back from ligament-replacement surgery, and his absence last year is what Fox brings up first when explaining their 7-9 season.
“Takes a team to the Super Bowl, comes back from Tommy John surgery. He does all this and he’s not drafted,” said Basanez, who played at Northwestern. “He’s not 6-5, he’s not 230. Come on. It’s really about want-to and just drive and determination.”
When Delhomme was injured early last year, the Panthers turned to an overall No. 1 pick. But David Carr struggled so badly amid injuries that he was replaced by another former No. 1 pick, 44-year-old Vinny Testaverde.
Testaverde’s body didn’t hold up, either. Finally, Carolina turned to Moore, who was ignored on draft weekend after a vagabond college career that ended at Oregon State. Moore, who was cut by Dallas before the regular season, went 2-1 as Carolina’s starter.
“Until a guy is under pressure it’s hard to evaluate ó even when you have them on your team,” Fox said. “That’s why they’re hard to get. It’s not just how tall or strong-armed or your production in college. Tom Brady wasn’t the most productive guy in college and he’s done pretty good.”
To round out their preseason roster, the Panthers signed Tharp, a rookie out of Boise State, and Ricard, who spent last season on Jacksonville’s practice squad after being a three-year starter at Tulane.
Ricard, who grew up in Louisiana and watched Delhomme’s brief outings with the Saints, thinks he’s in the right spot.
“It’s a situation where you see guys who are able to do it,” Ricard said. “You’ve just got to go out here and fight.”
That attitude is a constant among these QBs, who are determined to prove the scouts wrong.
“We all have a chip on our shoulder,” Delhomme said. “In my opinion, and certainly I’m biased, it goes to show you the inexact science of picking a quarterback. You just don’t know. The best quarterback in the game, Tom Brady, was a sixth-round pick. How does he slide to that? You look at a Kurt Warner. I look at a Jeff Garcia. He’s played forever.”
The Panthers were confident enough in Delhomme’s rehab and Moore’s performance last year that they didn’t sign a veteran QB after they released the ineffective Carr and Testaverde retired.
They’ll likely enter training camp without a guy who celebrated on draft weekend.
“You fall through the cracks,” Delhomme said. “I think a lot has to do with your height and your size. You have to be this or that. No, you don’t. You have to be a leader and you have to play.”

Comments

Comments closed.

Local

Bell Tower Green renamed to honor Stanbacks; Nancy Stanback receives key to city

Business

Commissioners green light additional houses at Cherry Treesort in China Grove

Education

A.L. Brown will hold in-person, outdoor graduation

Local

Granite Quarry awards FEMA contract for Granite Lake Park

Local

City to vote on apartment developments, final phases of Grants Creek Greenway project

High School

High school football: North receiver McArthur a rising star

Columnists

Carl Blankenship: Pollen and prejudice make their return

News

Harris pitches $2.3T spending plan on trip to North Carolina

Nation/World

Murder case against ex-cop in Floyd’s death goes to the jury

Crime

Sheriff’s office: Man takes deputies on chase with stolen moped

Coronavirus

Afternoon, evening COVID-19 vaccination clinic planned Thursday

Crime

Concord man charged with woman’s murder in drive-by shooting

Ask Us

Ask Us: Have city, county elected officials received COVID-19 vaccine?

Local

City gives away nearly 100 trees during ‘We Dig Salisbury’ event

Local

Political Notebook: Bitzer expects most ‘Trump-like’ candidate to be favorite in state’s Senate race

Crime

Blotter: Concord man arrested in Rowan for indecent liberties with children

Coronavirus

Half of US adults have received at least one COVID-19 shot

Nation/World

Police: FedEx shooter legally bought guns used in shooting

News

Hester Ford, oldest living American, dies at 115 … or 116?

Local

Size of pipeline spill again underestimated in North Carolina

BREAKING NEWS

Kannapolis Police searching for suspect who fled scene of homicide

Education

RSS superintendent talks district’s future, strategic plan survey

News

Complaints and fines pile up against unpermitted landfill in southwest Rowan County

College

Catawba baseball: Crowd comes out to say goodbye to Newman Park