Don't blame it all on Armanti Edwards

In this Insider post, Todd McShay says the Carolina Panthers are feeling more urgency than teams who have held the No. 1 pick in past years.

The reason? McShay points to Armanti Edwards.

Yep, the Panthers gave up this year’s second-round pick, which turned out to be No. 33 overall, for the chance to take Edwards in the third round last year. The lack of a second-round pick, McShay reasons, could force the Panthers to take Auburn quarterback Cam Newton with the No. 1 overall pick. If the Panthers still had that second-round pick, the Panthers could use it on a quarterback or even package it to move back into the first round and grab a quarterback.

It all makes sense. But let me add one thing here. There are a lot of people in Carolina and elsewhere who point to Edwards as a bust and they blame him for the Panthers being without a second-round pick.

I don’t think that’s fair at all. The Panthers knew Edwards was a project when they drafted him. He’s a former college quarterback and the team views him as a wide receiver who also has some ability as a return man.

The problem was, former coach John Fox pretty much refused to let Edwards near the field as a rookie. Fox was fighting a youth movement as well as an owner and front office. Refusing to use guys like Edwards and starting Brian St. Pierre at quarterback ahead of rookie Tony Pike was Fox’s way of sending a message. It also turned out to be his way of getting run out of town.

I’d tell any Carolina fan not to give up on Edwards just yet. A big part of the reason Ron Rivera was hired as the new coach was because he’s open to building with youth. Carolina general manager Marty Hurney was the guy who drafted Edwards and he still has high hopes for him.

At least with Rivera, we’ll get a chance to see if Edwards was worth the draft pick.