The Panthers Steal Of The Draft (Hint: Its Not Who You Think)

Paul DandisonContributor IAugust 14, 2010

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - MARCH 1: Defensive lineman Greg Hardy of Mississippi runs the 40 yard dash during the NFL Scouting Combine presented by Under Armour at Lucas Oil Stadium on March 1, 2010 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)
Scott Boehm/Getty Images

After the departure of defensive end Julius Peppers, there was a very pressing question that everyone, Panther fan or not, of how the Panthers were going to get pressure on opposing QB's.

Well Panther fans, I'm here to tell you why, the defensive line should not be a worry...


As I'm sure many of you watched the downpour in Baltimore Thursday night, August 12th, everyone was focused on second-round steal, Jimmy Clausen.  I personally, as I'm sure many others were, was interested in what the defensive line could do.  Would Everette Brown, the undersized DE from FSU, that Carolina spent a first round pick on a year ago, shine and show improvement?  Would Tyler Brayton or Charles Johnson, the veterans put a positive note on things?


Well, I was looking at one person in particular: The 6th round pick up of Greg Hardy, the speedy DE out of Ole Miss.  For those who don't know, Greg Hardy was predicted a high draft pick a year ago before his senior season at Ole Miss.  Until, Hardy was injured for the year, and his stock plummeted.  In the pre-season game against Baltimore, although Hardy was up against back-ups, he abused whoever was guarding him, showing impressive speed and strength.  The ESPN analyst (if you can call them that) stated that Hardy's nickname through camp was "Lil' Pep." 

While I don't agree with the nickname, I still think Hardy can be a bigger steal than Clausen.  Look for Hardy to have many snaps later in the pre-season, and possibly starting come Week 1.  Don't think its too crazy.  If he keeps performing the way he did in game 1 of pre-season, he'll continue to climb and get more snaps. Along with Brayton as well.