It was busy all over the National Football League Thursday, but in Charlotte, N. C., news was over the top. Owner Jerry Richardson is being probed for indiscretions, the team is for sale and, oh yes, the Panthers selected Maryland wide receiver D.J. Moore with pick 24 in the first round of the draft.
Brendan Marks of the Charlotte Observer managed to focus on the part about the draft pick, with a few observations. What he offers: Moore has the speed (4.42 40-yard-dash at the Combine) to be the reliable deep threat the Panthers desperately need. He has the versatility to play both outside and in the slot, which should be a boon for a Panthers offense in need of playmakers. And Panthers fans - Steve Smith Sr., the longtime Carolina star, has banged the table for Moore, too.
Worth mentioning: Torrey Smith, who the Panthers traded for in March, also attended Maryland. Moore was also recruited as a defensive back out of high school. Bet you didn't know: Moore caught passes from eight different quarterbacks during his time at Maryland. (Brendan, we will take that bet. Fact was mentioned in NFLDraftScout.com pre-draft analysis).
What they're saying: "The Panthers have never been able to replace me - until now." - Steve Smith Sr. on Moore. It was nice of the shy Smith Sr. to come out of his shell and allow for such an observation, right? Other observations, quotes about football draft news in Charlotte. Moore was picked two spots ahead of Alabama's highly touted Calvin Ridley, who went to the Falcons at No. 26. The Panthers also had Ridley in for a pre-draft visit. But general manager Marty Hurney indicated Moore's size, speed and skill set made him the choice.
"He's a little bigger (than Ridley). He's still very explosive. They're two excellent receivers. It's very close," Hurney said. "But we just thought his athleticism and his run after the catch (were impressive)."
Panthers head coach Ron Rivera said he likes the fact that Moore can play all three receiver spots, and also brought up the possibility that he could be used as a returner. Moore didn't hesitate when asked Thursday night what his best asset is, pointing to his playmaking ability. Moore said he had an inkling the Panthers might draft him, especially when they sent coaches and scouts to Maryland's pro day and he "lit it up for them."
Panthers offensive coordinator Norv Turner, quarterbacks coach Scott Turner and director of college scouting Jeff Morrow were among those at Moore's workout in College Park. During his pre-draft visit to Charlotte, Moore said the Panthers told him they were taking him in the first round. After the Panthers stayed true to their word Thursday, Rivera received a text from eighth-year quarterback Cam Newton. It said: "Thank you."