Reviewing Ron Rivera’s draft history on Days 2 and 3
2016 NFL Draft
Before this draft, the Panthers made the decision to rescind the franchise tag that they had extended to Josh Norman, who would go on to sign with the Redskins. It ended up being a poor choice by Dave Gettleman, as the team’s secondary had to be rebuilt in Norman’s absence. And Norman would go on to have two more strong years in Washington before he began regressing.
As a result of Gettleman’s decision, the Panthers targeted corners heavily in this class, but only one player overall panned out.
Round 2, Pick 62: CB James Bradberry, Samford. So, we’ll start with the player who panned out. Bradberry has blossomed into one of the NFL’s more productive cornerbacks and he is a rock-solid outside corner. With his frame and physicality, he helped to replace Norman as Carolina’s de facto No. 1 option. Bradberry has played in 60 career games, all starts, and has logged eight interceptions, 47 pass defenses, three sacks, two forced fumbles, and 279 tackles. He has very good ball skills and that’s what landed him a big contract with the New York Giants in free agency this offseason.
Round 3, Pick 77: CB Daryl Worley, West Virginia. Worley had a decent start to his career in Carolina. He usurped the starting job from Bene Benwikere after the duo had an awful game against Julio Jones and from there, Worley became a solid all-around player. He got burned on occasion — like during the Jones game — but he totaled 152 tackles, three interceptions, two sacks, and 19 pass defenses in his first two seasons.
However, the Panthers elected to send him to the Eagles in exchange for Torrey Smith in a move to bolster their secondary. Worley was cut by the Eagles just a month later after an altercation with the police but has since caught on as a starter for the Raiders.
Round 5, Pick 141: CB Zack Sanchez, Oklahoma. Yup. After parting with Norman, the Panthers selected three cornerbacks. Sanchez played in five games as a rookie but largely struggled to make an impact. He bounced between the team’s IR and practice squad in 2017 before he was cut in 2018. He now plays in the CFL.
Round 7, Pick 252: TE Beau Sandland, Montana St. Sandland spent half a season on the Panthers practice squad before being released. He went to the Green Bay Packers and Arizona Cardinals after that but never played a regular-season snap. He’s been out of the league since 2018.
Overall: This wasn’t a great draft for the Panthers. Bradberry and Worley were fine choices, but the decision to trade Worley after two seasons was questionable at best. Drafting three corners despite having other needs following a Super Bowl run definitely didn’t seem like the ideal strategy for the squad either, so this is one of the worst overall drafts the team had under Rivera.