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January 26, 2011

Q&A with college scouting director Don Gregory

MOBILE, Ala. – Don Gregory, the Panthers' director of college scouting, spoke with The Observer after one of the Senior Bowl practices on Tuesday.

Gregory, who has been with the Panthers since 2006, talked about working with first-year coach Ron Rivera on filling personnel needs, the number of talented juniors who aren't here this week and his thoughts on Auburn defensive tackle Nick Fairley, one of those juniors at or near the top of most draft projections.

Q: What's this week like when you come down here with the No. 1 pick?

A: I don't think it is any different. Having the No. 1 pick, you know you're going to get an elite player, and that's in the back of your head. There's a handful of elite players that are going to come in and be instant starters and upgrade your team.

The juniors aren't here. There's 57, 60 juniors that came out early. Some of those guys are up in that higher echelon one through 15. So you have to take that into consideration. But this is definitely a tier-one all-star game and there's some really good talent out here we're evaluating. In the big picture we're just trying to put everything together.

Q: Do you start some of the background process this week to try to get to know these players on a more personal level?

A: For the most part, we have a background on these guys. What we've done in the fall, talking with sources throughout the school and so forth. This is just confirming some of the information that we have already and making sure if anything happened off the field and dates and so forth. There's always the checks and balances, where you're kind of checking yourself to make sure, well, the rumor is this and this happened. You want to get to know from the horse's mouth about this information now because you've already got information already.

Q: How is the evaluation process shaped by specific personnel needs?

A: You have to go in and look at your weaknesses and holes you have to fill, and all sorts of needs. By the same token, you have to say, 'Hey, there's a lot of guys out here that could be the best athlete out here now.' For example, Ryan Kalil, we got in the second round. He wasn't necessarily a need, but he was the best football player on the board at the time. So sometimes you just look at the best guy available and down the line who's going to help you. Ryan's had a few years now (as) a Pro Bowler, and we're glad we made that choice to get the best football player available.

Q: Have you identified specific needs for this draft?

A: We've got the new coaching staff. We've got to sit down with those coaches and coach (Ron) Rivera and make sure we're all on the same page as he evaluates our football team going forward. We have to make sure what he's looking for because this is a new system, a new head coach. When all the coaches get on board, we have to make sure what he wants with offense and defense and those are the right fits. That's what we have to do, and that's next on the planning attack.

Q: A guy who's not in this game but is from Mobile is Nick Fairley. He's been widely linked to that first pick. What's your evaluation of him?

A: The guy's talented. A blind dog can find a nut once in a while. But he's a talented guy and obviously you just continue to evaluate him going forward. He's been very productive this year at Auburn. A national championship, it's an exciting year for him. He's a great football player and we just have to make sure we continue to evaluate him and all the other guy that are in the top tier of the draft and get the right one. But he's a great football player.

Q: With his connections here in Mobile, do you use this week to talk to people close to him?

A: Absolutely. That's something you use every means you have available to get information. We'll make sure we take advantage of those situations.

Q: You have the first pick in every round but the second round. How advantageous is that in terms of possible trade value?

A:  You have to look at every tool you can use to help your team get better. And If that's an advantage for us to trade back and get more draft picks, you have to take a look at that definitely.

--Joseph Person

Posted by Observer Sports on January 26, 2011 at 01:35 PM | Permalink


I want to be the first to say it.... Trade the #1 Pick!!

Now i want to be the first to say this... Trading the Pick is stupid and your an idiot for suggesting it.

There, no more coments needed.

Posted by: PantherPuff | Jan 26, 2011 2:04:25 PM

"A blind dog can find a nut once in a while"

My question is, why would a dog be looking for a nut?

Posted by: Brad | Jan 26, 2011 2:15:09 PM

I don't think that blind dog found any nuts in the first three rounds of the 2010 draft.

Posted by: Nosebleed fan | Jan 26, 2011 3:49:20 PM

Most dogs are trying to get a nut

Posted by: Jamel | Jan 26, 2011 3:54:29 PM

Dogs love nuts...just ask my one nutted brother.

Posted by: Cosmo Walker | Jan 26, 2011 4:25:10 PM

When can they begin trading picks?

Posted by: Mark | Jan 26, 2011 4:26:54 PM

LMAO PantherPuff!

Posted by: shane | Jan 26, 2011 6:14:47 PM

With no rookie cap the pick has zero trade value.

Posted by: sam | Jan 26, 2011 9:15:42 PM

My grandmother always said, "old blind hog found an acorn." I always assumed that the "dog" version was a mistaken derivation.

Posted by: BullCityDog | Jan 26, 2011 10:26:55 PM

Interesting, never heard of the man. With the draft success of the Panthers for the last several years I now know why.

Posted by: bob wave | Jan 27, 2011 6:55:43 AM

How the hell are you a Panthers fan and have never heard of Don Gregory?

Posted by: really? | Jan 27, 2011 8:55:43 AM

Why was the dog blind? Did he blind himself looking for nuts? Why was he looking for nuts? I bet he likes Wendy's.

Posted by: PantherRob | Jan 27, 2011 12:32:16 PM

Take Ryan Mallet #1.....dont care what the "experts" say.....Mallet will be a Franchise QB for the next 15 years....This Fairley guy is a bust waiting to happen....

Posted by: Ed Lucas | Jan 29, 2011 10:31:29 AM

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