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April 28, 2012

Panthers pick up Alexander, Adams in 4th round

With back-to-back picks in the fourth round, the Panthers addressed their need for a pass rusher and picked up a punt returner in a move that could spell the end of Armanti Edwards' time in Charlotte.

The Panthers traded one of their two sixth-round picks and next year's third-round selection to San Francisco to move up and take Oklahoma defensive end Frank Alexander with the 103rd overall pick.

A couple minutes later with the 104th selection, the Panthers drafted Arkansas wide receiver/punt returner Joe Adams, the SEC Special Teams Player of the Year last season after leading the nation with four punt returns for touchdowns.

Panthers general manager Marty Hurney said Adams had “special” return skills and was drafted to be the primary punt returner. Adams, 5-11 and 179 pounds, averaged 16.9 yards per return last season for the Razorbacks, but had 11 career fumbles.

The Panthers gave up a second-round pick to take Edwards in the third round of the 2010 draft. He played little as a rookie under John Fox, and averaged just 5.5 yards per punt return last season.

Alexander, 6-4 and 270 pounds, combined for 15 ½ sacks his last two seasons at Oklahoma. As a senior last fall, Alexander had 8 ½ sacks, with eight passes batted down, an interception and three forced fumbles.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said the Panthers were looking at video of other Oklahoma defenders when Alexander caught their eye. Rivera said Alexander can player either side and will have a shot to join the rotation at defensive end as a rookie.

Alexander did not work out at the combine in February after a doctor diagnosed him with a hole in his heart. Alexander passed a stress test at the combine, and subsequently was cleared by doctors from four other teams, as well as his father's cardiologist.

Alexander said his father had a quadruple bypass two years ago when he was 53, and thinks his family history led to him getting red-flagged in Indianapolis.

“I wasn't worried about the heart situation. I just wanted to compete on that level because I had worked so hard to get to that point,” Alexander said. “This was my first time ever hearing anything about a heart condition. Come to find out I didn't have one.”

Alexander had a big game last year against Baylor quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner Robert Griffin III in the Bears' 45-38 win. Alexander sacked Griffin once and had another tackle for loss against him, and just missed sacking him when Griffin threw a game-winning touchdown pass with 8 seconds left.

Alexander said he enjoyed playing against Griffin, who was drafted No. 2 overall by Washington on Thursday.

“We're going to see each other again,” Alexander said, referring to the Panthers' Nov. 4 game at Washington.

--Joseph Person

Posted by Observer Sports on April 28, 2012 at 02:06 PM | Permalink


Great job, Panthers. Joe, Frank: Welcome to Panthers Nation!

Posted by: EFord | Apr 28, 2012 2:14:43 PM

I like both of these guys, but I do not understand why we consistently give up a pick in the lower rounds for later selections. I guess this is the price of poker, but it just seems like a flawed strategy.

Posted by: Ryan | Apr 28, 2012 2:27:19 PM

Ditto !!!

Posted by: nasty704 | Apr 28, 2012 2:34:01 PM

I agree, I'm not happy about the cost. Especially for a player I think would have been there in the 6th rd.

Posted by: Gary | Apr 28, 2012 3:19:49 PM

This is the scouting report on Joe Adams from NFL.com.
"He should expect to be picked somewhere in the second round."
To get any player in the 4th round who was scouted to go in the 2nd round is a steal in my book.

Posted by: Wade | Apr 28, 2012 3:41:17 PM

I do have to add that I don't like the Frank Alexander pick, most especially because the team traded a 3rd to get him! I think he is this year's Armanti Edwards.

Posted by: Wade | Apr 28, 2012 3:48:33 PM

It looks like they're addressing the needs pretty well. Much better than Washington who took the Mich. St. QB in the 4th after they traded 2 first round picks to get RGIII. Wow.

Posted by: wolfpackpanther | Apr 28, 2012 4:27:45 PM

I can't wait to see this Joe fumble punts everytime he gets drilled like Armanti did! All of you will finally realize what a nice job AE did just hanging on to the ball with our pathetic punt return TEAM!

Posted by: AE Fan | Apr 28, 2012 4:38:40 PM

Finally a guy drafted to return punts! I've been waiting since Smitty stopped doing it to see the team get a true speed returner that will worry other teams and give us decent field position.

Only an Armanti fan could defend anything he has done since Hurney foolishly gave up the first pick in the 2nd round two years ago to get him. He will get cut this summer, and you can go to someone else's comment section to defend his lack of doing anything in the NFL. He fumbled punt returns so often they made Captain return them instead.

Posted by: Sportsdon | Apr 28, 2012 5:32:19 PM

I don't understand why we traded a 3rd rounder next year and a 6th rounder this year for a 4th rounder? This makes no sense to me. Why not trade back into the draft yesterday and trade a 4th and 6th. Teams were doing that left and right.

Posted by: Mike | Apr 28, 2012 6:18:52 PM

Sportsdon, I agree with you, we need a speedy returner. If he can get by those 4 guys we don't block, he's gone.

Posted by: The Beat goes on | Apr 28, 2012 6:28:22 PM


Posted by: TP | Apr 28, 2012 6:34:33 PM


Posted by: TP | Apr 28, 2012 6:39:14 PM

Do you guys remember Billy "whiteshoes" Johnson? That's Joe Adams. He will run 3-5 touchdowns back this year. The fan base is going to love him. There will be chants of joe-joe-joe when he catches the ball. The opposing teams will be jealous of this weapon that we stole in the 4th round. I'm thrilled with this pick and can't wait to see him on the field.

Posted by: deepenwide | Apr 28, 2012 6:50:11 PM

I like da pick also and ae had his chances but didn't pan out but I'm really liking this other kid they got

Posted by: ronnelle white | Apr 28, 2012 8:09:04 PM

For all of you fans who are complaining about the Joe Adams pick by giving up a 3rd round pick next year.... just look up his punt return against Tennessee last year and you will understand why we made this move.

Posted by: CuseKid15 | Apr 28, 2012 8:14:45 PM

CuseKid, we gave up the 3rd rounder for Alexander, not Adams. Glad to have him though, looks like we have a chance to have our Special Teams be a strength for the first time in a long time. At worst it won't be a weakness anymore.

Posted by: DB | Apr 28, 2012 9:01:38 PM

Not complaining about the pick. Just pointing out the obvious, we don't block on punts. Don't boo this kid if he is not the second coming on punt returns. He will be great or mediocre based upon the blocking. He alone is not the answer like so many seem to feel. I hope he returns 10, but if he gets the same blocking we've had the last couple years, it will be no better. Just a fact...not hatin'.

Posted by: The Beat goes on | Apr 28, 2012 9:06:35 PM

Alexander is similar to Greg Hardy, but with a better motor. I don't think he was a steal, but was worth the next year's 3rd pick, especially if we do well and pick near the bottom of that round.

Posted by: BB | Apr 28, 2012 9:16:48 PM

I really don't understand why the Panthers continuously give up next years early round draft picks to move in the later rounds this year. Just doesn't make a lot of sense to me. Then again I'm not an G.M..

Posted by: C.Bax | Apr 28, 2012 9:22:56 PM

If these picks pan out then Rivera gets more credit than Hurney. If some turn out to be busts then Hurney has to go. Also Alexander stated by interview on Panthers site that based upon another doc's opin he has no hole in his heart. DE competition should make Hardy work harder, I might live with these picks more if we pick up decent FA's.

Posted by: CEREBRUM | Apr 28, 2012 9:24:17 PM

Right, if not for the reports about his heart, Alexander might have graded a lot higher, maybe 2nd-3rd round grade. I don't think anyone minded giving up this year's 3rd rounder for Greg Olson, but it's different giving up a pick for a proven commodity rather than the unknown. I think that's really what most people have a problem with. That and the bad memories of what happened the last 2 times we did this.

Posted by: DB | Apr 28, 2012 11:11:23 PM

I know AE's return average was poor, but what games were you haters watching? He was consistently hit immediately after catching the majority of punts and did a nice job of not coughing up the ball, NOT ONCE ALL SEASON!

I can't believe all of you jump on the Joe Adams bandwagon so easily. Why has no one noted that he had 11 FUMBLES on PUNT RETURNS in his illustrious College career?? What do you think will happen when he is hit like AE was by Pro calliber defenders???? Hopefully this new Special Teams coach will change the blocking scheme, or you AE haters will be wishing he was back and not turning the ball over like Adams has proved he will!!!!

Posted by: Eman | Apr 29, 2012 9:17:48 AM

@eman, i like AE, but adams will be better, the reason why this is adams natural pos and ae was a experiment, adams is a gifted return man that no one can deny, i am sorry but ae is not the man for pr/kr duties..go look at some tape on adams if you dont believe me

Posted by: pantherlife | Apr 30, 2012 8:53:41 AM

The best thing that can happen for Armanti's NFL career is for the Panthers to cut him.

Posted by: yeahyeahyeah | Apr 30, 2012 9:15:50 AM

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