The Carolina Panthers are a successful, albeit young franchise with only 24 NFL Drafts to analyze. But as the team prepares for draft number 25, we look back at some of the highs and lows along the way.
Here’s the bright side of the NFL Draft, as we visit the 10 best picks in Panthers history:
No. 7 best pick: WR Muhsin Muhammad (1996)
One could make the argument Thomas Davis deserves a spot above Muhsin Muhammad — but best pick and best player aren’t necessarily the same thing. Best pick introduces value into the equation, and value is exactly what the Panthers got when they drafted Muhammad in the second round (43rd overall pick) of the 1996 NFL Draft.
It’s hard to fault teams for taking the eight receivers who were drafted before Muhammad; six of them finished their careers with more than 8,000 receiving yards. But “Moose” closed his 14-year career with 11,438 yards on 860 catches — the most of any receiver in his draft class except for Hall of Famers Terrell Owens and Marvin Harrison.
Muhammad turned in a First-Team All-Pro season in 2004 with 1,405 yards and 16 touchdowns before leaving Carolina for Chicago that offseason, only to return for the final two years of his career. His 85-yard score also set a Super Bowl record in 2003 for the longest reception in the NFL’s biggest game.
Just as important as his on-field impact, Muhammad also mentored another Carolina great, whom we’ll discuss later on in this series.