CHARLOTTE, NC (WTVD) -- Thorough and patient. Those are two key words that define the Carolina Panthers' draft philosophy.
Starting on Thursday in Dallas, General Manager Marty Hurney will pull the strings after a six-year hiatus. Hurney was previously in charge of the Cats from 2002-2012.
"This is the fun part of the job. This is what gets your juices flowing," Hurney said.
It can also potentially get you fired. In back-to-back years (2008, 2009) Hurney traded away future first-round picks only to have it blow up in his face. Remember Jeff Otah or Everette Brown anyone? Both were selected after Hurney mortgaged his first-round future. Neither worked out.
"I can tell you right now that you can consider next year's first safe. I don't think we're going to be trading next year's first," Hurney said with some chuckling and sideways glances at coach Ron Rivera.
"When you step back and you look at things and some of the things you've done, you look at what you did and what you can do better," Hurney said. "You also look at what you did well, and you want to try to improve on it."
There have also been some great first-round picks under his watch. His regime started with Julius Peppers (second overall) in 2002. He also mined OT Jordan Gross, LB Thomas Davis, Cam Newton and current defensive star Luke Kuechly before stepping away in 2012.
So what's the burning first-round need this year? None.
Hurney said he believes the current roster is solid with no glaring holes thanks to some free agent additions. Former Tar Heel Da'Norris Searcy and ex-Blue Devil Ross Cockrell bring 11 years of experience to the defensive backfield.
"We're not going to reach for someone because he's a safety," Hurney said. "Ross Cockrell and Searcey, I think we feel like it's two players we feel good about. Helped increase our competition and depth there."
New offensive coordinator Norv Turner has apparently communicated to Rivera and Hurney the players he's interested in.
The additions of free agent wideouts Torry Smith and Jarius Wright have that position on solid ground. In fact, Ron Rivera feels good about who's he's got already at every spot on the offense.
The Panthers think they'll be on the clock about 10:40 p.m. Thursday night. Hurney plans to: "Let the board come to you and don't overreact."
Panthers' Marty Hurney ahead of NFL draft: 'Let the board come to you and don't overreact'
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