Carolina Panthers 1999 Draft
Here's a look at the the players the Panthers picked in the 1999 draft and the transactions they made that involved draft picks. (Written April 1999; updated August 1999.)
The Panthers did not have a first-round pick; it was given to the Redskins in the deal for defensive lineman Sean Gilbert last year.
Chris Terry, OT, Georgia (34th pick overall)
Terry (6-5, 285) is a finesse blocker who has been getting better with each game he plays. Before 1997, he was a defensive lineman at Georgia, so his offensive line skills are still a bit raw. Nevertheless, he earned first-team all-SEC honors in 1998. Pro Football Weekly said, "Terry moves extremely well for an offensive lineman. Has long arms and good feet (balance). Needs to improve his understanding of blocking angles and hand placement. If he does learn those things, he could be very, very good."
Terry was the lightest offensive lineman weighed at the Indianapolis scouting combine, but the Panthers predict he will get his weight to 310 by September. Panthers offensive line coach Tony Wise said Terry will be placed at left tackle, behind veteran Clarence Jones, the Charlotte Observer reported. If Terry plays well enough, he could start at left tackle. Jones would move to right tackle, and current right tackle Norberto Davidds-Garrido would go to the bench.
Signed four-year contract worth $3 million, including a signing bonus of slightly more than $1 million.
Mike Rucker, DE, Nebraska (38th pick overall)
Rucker (6-5, 249) is considered a "tweener," lacking the bulk to play defensive end and the coverage skills for outside linebacker. But he is an explosive defensive end with "big game" potential. George Seifert foresees Rucker being able to fit the "elephant" position -- a hybrid defensive end/linebacker who rushes the passer 95 percent of the time -- but Seifert said he will also evaluate Rucker to see if he can play in a "true 4-3 defense." Rucker will probably start out at right defensive end, competing with Antonio Edwards for a starting role.
Rucker had 17.5 sacks and 40 tackles-for-loss in his Nebraska career. "This is the type of outside pass rusher that a lot of NFL teams are looking for," The Sporting News wrote. "He has the speed and the aggressiveness to be a success at the next level."
"These are fine guys. But they need a lot of coaching," George Seifert said in assessing the Panthers' two second-round picks. Both are considered very athletic but are relatively light and relatively raw. Coaching and conditioning should take care of that.
Rucker signed a four-year deal worth more than $2.8 million, including a $1.02 million signing bonus.
Earlier in 1999, the Panthers traded their third-round pick (and a conditional pick in 2000) to Denver for quarterback Jeff Lewis. George Seifert said he considers Lewis as a draft pick, and many NFL experts consider Lewis to be the "next Mark Brunell." The mobile, accurate Lewis was schooled in the West Coast Offense under former Seifert assistant Mike Shanahan. Coming off a knee injury that kept him out of action during 1998, Lewis will compete with Steve Bueurlein for the starting QB job.
Hannibal Navies, LB, Colorado (100th overall)
George Seifert said the Panthers would be looking for the best athlete available, and judging by The Sporting News' report, they got him: "If you're looking for an outside linebacker who measures up athletically, this is the one. Navies has a fine combination of size and speed, and he can range from sideline to sideline."
Navies (6-2, 238) is a ferocious outside linebacker and led Colorado in tackles during his junior and senior seasons. "He needs work on pass coverage, and his production does not quite match his athletic ability," the Sporting News wrote. "Right now, he is a better athlete than football player." Navies sounds like a diamond in the rough: Coaching can help his football skills, but the athletic ability can't be taught.
Signed three-year deal worth $1.02 million and a $270,000 signing bonus.
The Panthers gave up their fifth-round pick for wide receiver Patrick Jeffers, a restricted free agent from the Cowboys. In the week leading up to the draft, the Panthers signed Jeffers to an offer sheet worth $1.2 million for one year ($400,000 in base salary; close to $800,000 in a signing bonus), and the Cowboys failed to match it. Jeffers, 26, is big (6-3, 218) and fast. Panthers quarterbacks coach Bill Musgrave and quarterback Jeff Lewis played with Jeffers after he was Denver's fifth-round choice out of Virginia in 1996.
Robert Daniel, DE, Northwestern (La.) State (175th overall)
On injured reserve for 1999 with neck injury.
Daniel (6-5 269) was considered by many to be the premier defensive lineman at the NCAA Division I-AA level. He is a physical player who is very quick off the ball, but he needs to learn when to change up his pass rush. "He has a nice upside, but it may take a couple of years to get him ready to contribute in the NFL," The Sporting News wrote.
"He's a big fellow that has good movement for his size, and we look at him giving us depth this first year," said Seifert, who said he'd like the Panthers to have a rotation of seven or eight defensive linemen.
But Daniel's future may be as more than a backup. Here's Mel Kiper Jr.'s scouting report: "Daniel is a superior athlete with good balance and excellent natural pass-rush skills. He looks like he has all the tools to be an upper-echelon defensive end. If he fills out and adds about 15 pounds without losing his outstanding quickness, the sky is the limit. Overall, Daniel has a huge upside and the ability to become a dominant right end if he adds bulk and continues to develop his technique."
Daniel had five sacks in a 56-tackle senior season, when he proved his blown-out right knee was whole again. He had missed the previous season with an ACL injury.
Signed three-year deal worth around $810,000, with a signing bonus of about $60,000.
Tony Booth, S, James Madison (211th overall)
On injured reserve for 1999 with knee injury.
Booth (6-1, 195) is an aggressive safety who is equally adept at stopping the run as he is in coverage. He started 1996 at cornerback, then switched to safety as a junior and led the Dukes with 122 tackles and eight interceptions. He'll probably be switching back to cornerback with the Panthers. George Seifert said that they would try him at cornerback to take advantage of his size against some of the bigger wide receivers in the NFL.
Booth excels at accelerating out of his backpedal and can turn and run smoothly to prevent the underneath pass. He reads the quarterback well, showing superb ball-reaction skills. He is a reliable tackler and is skilled in man-to-man coverage, showing an explosive closing burst.
Signed three-year contract at the league minimum and a signing bonus of about $100,000.
Undrafted Free Agent