Panthers proud of undrafted QBs

Matt Moore / Getty Images

After the 2007-08 season, NFL experts have speculated that the Carolina Panthers would address their quarterback situation with either a veteran free agent pickup or a high draft pick. Nobody bothered to tell the Panthers they needed one.

For the first time in the Panthers' short history, and perhaps the first time in the modern NFL era, the Panthers don't have a single QB under contract that was drafted.

"They come from all different places," Panthers head coach John Fox said on Wednesday after the team's practice. "Some guys are first picks in the draft; some guys are not so highly touted. That's why it's amazing to find them. I think it's just by chance that's how ours ended up. It wasn't by design. That's just how it worked out. They're the best we've got."

Jake Delhomme started off well last season, posting a 111.8 QB Rating, 8 TDs and only 1 INT in the three games he played. When Delhomme injured his elbow and subsequently was placed on the IR, the Panthers turned to a pair of #1 overall draft picks -- Vinny Testaverde and David Carr -- to carry the team. However, after both failed miserably, the Panthers were pleasantly surprised when they finally turned to rookie Matt Moore late in the season. Who knew the undrafted rookie from Oregon State would end up being the best QB on the roster last season? The Panthers narrowly missed the playoffs last season, and had the team not put so much stock in Testaverde's pedigree and Carr's potential, they might have made it on Moore's talent.

"He (Moore) got to start to start three games last year," Fox said. "For a rookie free agent quarterback in the National Football League, that doesn't happen a lot. Those were valuable lessons. He got some playing time late in games last year. It's all about experience with quarterbacks. That's why they are so hard to develop. All of that playing time will be helpful moving forward."

So how do these quarterbacks, like Delhomme, Moore, Brett Basanez, Lester Ricard and Taylor Tharp fall through the cracks, and guys like Tim Couch, Ryan Leaf and Akili Smith go in the first five picks?

"Under pressure it's hard to evaluate, even when you have them on your team," Fox said. "We've had Brett Basanez for going on three years, and I've seen him in a few preseason games and that's it. It's just hard to evaluate them or hard to even put them in there to evaluate. That's why they are hard to get. It's not all (about) how tall and strong armed (they are) and (their) production in college. Tom Brady wasn't the most productive guy in college, but he's done pretty good."

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