Sean McDermott was beloved when Carolina’s defensive coordinator. Carolina fielded a Top 12 defense 4 out 5 seasons when he was a coordinator, and twice had a Top 5 defense in those years. Now that he’s the head coach of Buffalo, you would think we would wish him the best in the AFC in what will clearly be a tough nut to crack in a division owned by the Patriots. It turns out, we may be wishing him well, but he may not be so caring about his former team.
The Buffalo Bills traded up in both the 2nd and 3rd rounds, just the ahead of the Panthers. In both of these rounds, the selected players that the Panthers had met and of positions that Carolina addressed in that same round. In the 2nd, the Bills moved up from #44 to #37 and took Zay Jones, a player who had been linked to Carolina for months. The Panthers took wide receiver Curtis Samuel three picks later. In the next round, the Bills traded three picks to the Atlanta Falcons to jump one pick ahead of the Panthers (#63) to select offensive tackle Dion Dawkins. The following pick, Carolina selected Taylor Moton, an offensive tackle from Western Michigan.
In both of these moves, it’s pretty apparent the Bills were trying to get in front of the Panthers. There were two teams in between the Bills and Panthers in Round 2, the Chargers and the Jets. After LA took Mike Wallace in the first, it was hard to think they were targeting Zay Jones. The Jets who picked #39 may have been interested in a wideout given their aging receiver group, but they didn’t pick a wide receiver in the entire draft when it was over. The Bills needed a receiver and McDermott had to of known that Carolina was interested in Jones. In the next round, it happened again.
I don’t have any firm evidence that the Panthers were going to select either Jones or Dawkins if they were available, but this is a little too coincidental. While this doesn't change my opinion of McDermott, it does show that this is a business about winning--not about playing nicey-nice.
I would like to credit Gene Ferrell for turning me onto this idea with this tweet:
By Tony Dunn
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