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The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham
The Truth Network Radio
March 23, 2023 6:12 pm


The Drive with Josh Graham / Josh Graham

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March 23, 2023 6:12 pm

On a Thursday Drive, Josh explains why the Carolina Panthers can't afford to roll the dice on Bryce Young, discusses what the SEC needs to do to be taken seriously as a basketball conference, WD is finally allowed to go to the movies and review "Pulp Fiction", voice of Charlotte FC, Will Palaschuk, joins the show to discuss caffeine and who he thinks the Panthers should take between CJ Stroud and Bryce Young, and beat writer for, Darin Gantt, joins the show to discuss Sea Bass and his takeaways from being at CJ Stroud's pro day, at Ohio State.

The Drive with Josh Graham
Josh Graham
Amy Lawrence Show
Amy Lawrence
The Rich Eisen Show
Rich Eisen
The Drive with Josh Graham
Josh Graham
The Drive with Josh Graham
Josh Graham

He's amused Cam Newton. He's been insulted by Charles Barkley. When some idiot in the press asked him, if you know what you know now, what you scheduled this game.

He's interviewed Matthew McConaughey. And he's taken on Big Blue Nation. He's just completely taken the wind out of my safety. It's time for The Drive with Josh Graham. Welcome to a Thursday Drive with JWSJS, News Talk Sports for the Triad, where after CJ Stroud had his day in Columbus yesterday, today was Bryce Young's turn at Alabama's Pro Day, which just wrapped up in the last couple of hours. And unlike CJ's Stroud session, today was the first time Bryce was thrown in front of Pro Scouts this off season. He elected not to throw at the combine in Indianapolis, but short of an injury, nothing could have really happened today to change the conversation with Bryce Young. If something looked bad, he could easily say go back to the tape.

And he'd be right. Nobody has better tape than he does at Bama. So of course, he should look good. And he did look good without pads thrown to his guys and his facility without any defenders to worry about. He's still 5'10", 190 though. And given what the Panthers gave up specifically, they can't afford to roll the dice on Bryce Young.

Other teams could, not the Carolina Panthers. It's the difference between a trust fund baby at a prep school or at an Ivy League school and the scholarship grant kit. One has room for error, the other doesn't. It's kind of like Scent of a Woman back when looking at Philip Seymour Hoffman's character versus the one that's running around in New York City with Al Pacino. I'm sure WD knows exactly what movie I'm talking about. It's the one movie that Al Pacino won an Oscar for. You watched Pulp Fiction last night for the first time. That was our gift to you.

You'll tell us what you thought of that in a little over 10 minutes or so. But one has to be a little bit more careful than the other. The trust fund baby, if they mess up, daddy can talk to his connections with the president and all of that and they have more options, more flexibility. The scholarship grant kit, if he does something wrong and gets kicked out of school, sorry, I guess you're going to be serving burgers at McDonald's for the next few years.

That's your option. The Carolina Panthers are the latter of that too. It's totally different say than the Houston Texans at number two. They can draft Bryce Young and think, you know what? We get the more polished of the two quarterbacks, somebody who has the better college tape. We roll the dice with his size and we can try to surround them with as much talent as possible while he's on a rookie deal for four to five years. And if he gets banged up, if he's not a 10 year guy, that's fine.

We will survive as an organization. Houston can have that approach. They have another first round pick at number 12, so they have plenty of opportunities in the draft to get better and they have their pick that they didn't have to give up anything for it.

Number two. Meanwhile, the Carolina Panthers gave up DJ Moore, two ones and two twos just to be making this pick. So in order for Carolina to make that pick a win, in order to win the trade with Chicago, the bare minimum is you need that quarterback playing through his second contract.

You need somebody who's gonna, you're going to give a second contract to who's around for seven, eight years minimum. And there is a lot more risk with Bryce Young getting to seven, eight years in the league than there is for CJ Stroud. And a lot of that goes back again to risk of injury to Bryce Young's frame.

Other than Russell Wilson, there are only cautionary tales for quarterback six feet tall or smaller. And the other thing is it's not just the height, it's not just five 10 for Bryce, an inch smaller than Russell. It's the one 90 piece.

It's the buck 85 one 90 piece. Anybody who's been around Russell Wilson either at NC State or in the NFL can tell you one of the first things you'll say, oh, that guy's girthy. That guy's bigger. That guy, he's not small. He can take a hit. If you're around Bryce Young, it's not the same deal.

It just isn't. So Russ, he plays about 20 pounds heavier than Bryce Young does. But let's just go through the current quarterbacks in the league that are six feet or smaller, six feet or smaller. Kyler Murray was the first overall pick a few years ago. He's missed nine starts in the last two years. That's more than a quarter of their games. Baker Mayfield damaged goods after he got hurt his final year in Cleveland.

We saw that in Charlotte last year. Tua, injuries dating back to his Alabama days. I'm not going to hold the concussion stuff against him. That's not necessarily an injury. If you hurt your brain, that's not necessarily because of how small you are. I'm not talking about that.

I'm talking about ankles, hips. Those are the types of injuries that Tua sustained going back to his days at Bama when he had a good offensive line. And there's also a chance that his game might not translate. Go watch his highlights. Look at the best games he had. Like the LSU game where he brought him back. You see wide receivers running wide open. You see him breaking tackles to get out of the pocket.

The Texas game the same way. That's not going to happen in the NFL. You're not going to break those types of tackles.

You're not going to run away from dudes. He doesn't have that electric type of speed. It's part of the reason why he chose not to run the 40. You're not going to have wide open wide receivers. So for me, Stroud seems to have more tools for this great coaching staff with a lot of former quarterbacks to develop.

Carolina is the scholarship grant kid here. They can't take the risk. They can't act like the trust fund babies after giving up everything they did to get to the number one pick.

They have to take the safer choice. And that is obviously C.J. Stroud.

But I'll tell you who doesn't agree with me. Steve Smith just sat down with Bryce Young on the NFL Network set in the last 30 minutes or so, and Smitty was gushing over Bryce Young for about five minutes. And I just sat there and watch you.

And as a 44, I'll be 44 years old. I could have got out there and ran those routes just the way you were guiding the ball. It was remarkable. I mean, I'm just like, I can lace them up.

I can't do that. But it's a short look. Watching it, man. What a wonderful, wonderful display of why you deserve to be the first overall quarterback to be picked in this year's draft. Really appreciate that means it means the world, especially coming from you.

He also said he wants a personalized jersey from Rice. What are you laughing about? It's wonderful.

It's wonderful. And here's the thing. I'm not saying Smitty's wrong. This isn't me saying Smitty isn't seeing what I'm seeing. We can agree.

If I could have one quarterback right now to win one game, I'd take Bryce Young. But that's not what we're talking about here. When you give up all that you gave up to get to number one, you got to do risk assessment here. You got to protect your investment. And it's a lot easier to protect C.J. Stroud as an investment.

Than Bryce Young, just because of the frame. On Twitter at WSJS radio, if you want in, that's where we're streaming video. In addition to Twitch and on YouTube, make sure to subscribe to our podcast and also to our YouTube channel. Will Dalton is the executive producer of this show. Our NCAA tournament coverage for tonight begins right when we get off the air at six o'clock with the first sweet 16 game being from MSG that tips off at around six thirty. But one way or another, the story this weekend will be about SEC basketball. Hence is why I'm wearing Tennessee gear that I got from my maiden voyage to Rocky Top last season, watching Kentucky completely fold and Will Levis throw multiple interceptions in Knoxville. The Panthers are going to be in full force at Will Levis's pro day tomorrow. By the way, Darren Gant, he's in Kentucky right now.

He'll join us later on in the show. The Vols have a FAU tonight at nine o'clock. And if the SEC really wants to be taken seriously as a basketball conference, the next few days is when they prove it.

Because it's been a lot of talk from Greg Sankey and company over the last decade, but very little bite. No Final Four team since 2019 for that conference. I don't believe they've had somebody appear in the championship game since you have to go back to 2015 when Duke took out Wisconsin.

So it's been a long time. They've only made the Final Four once out of the last four seasons. The last time they won a championship, got to go back to Kentucky in 2012, 11 years ago. And here they are with three teams in the Sweet Sixteen. And all three of their teams could win in this round. Two absolutely should, including Tennessee against the Owls tonight. Alabama has been given a easy path as the number one overall seed in the tournament. Those teams should win. I think Arkansas has a really good shot tonight against UConn.

But if they don't, let's just put it this way. If they don't get as far as the Final Four with any of these three teams, that's embarrassing for their conference. They got 10 teams that made the NCAA tournament this year. Twice as many as the ACC. Literally twice as many as the ACC. And if they fail again, as they did last year and the year before that, they're starting to approach Big Ten country. Or we can mock them for all the teams that they get and all the talk and all the little bite when March rolls around. Let me put it in perspective. The last time the Big Ten or the SEC won a title was Kentucky in 2012.

Since then, ACC schools have won four national championships, just the ACC. So all this talk about it just means more, the SEC, all this money that's just pouring out of the walls and teams we've got everywhere that's in the tournament, 10 of them. I don't care about all that. How far do you get when it matters most?

Don't show me the labor, show me the baby. How far can you get? If you don't get to the Final Four, I don't want to hear anything about it. It's embarrassing for the SEC if they don't get there. So that I think is going to be the story over the next few days. Since last weekend was Will Dalton's birthday, we finally let him watch the Quentin Tarantino classic Pulp Fiction and that is a tasty burger. At the Movies is next. In late August, early September, three doors down, we'll be visiting Raleigh and Charlotte. We have a pair of tickets for you to win.

Later on this hour, we'll tell you how to win those tickets. I'm a fan of three doors down. Didn't you see three doors down one time? That was the first concert I ever went to. For me, my first was opening act, little known singer songwriter that hadn't broken through yet circa 2000 named Alicia Keys, followed by Shaggy, the headliner, the Backstreet Boys at then RBC Center in Raleigh, America. If you want to go see three doors down, we'll tell you how to win those tickets in a bit. I saw them perform at the NHL All-Star game, same building in Raleigh. I think that was in 2011 that they were performing. They have that sound that's very Pearl Jam, Nickelback-esque where the voice gets a little grungy.

It sounds like, I'm here without you, baby, but you're still on my lonely mind. Wow. That's pretty impressive. Yeah, just like that. Please don't use that.

Don't do that. Will Pelagic is going to join us from Charlotte FC later this hour too. They're in the win column. You can listen to Charlotte FC soccer Saturday when they are next in action at home against the New York Red Bulls. But this is something that we've been looking forward to for a long time.

Will Dalton has had quite a week. Not only was he covering NCAA tournament basketball games, which he was excited about, it was his birthday over the weekend and Ian Eagle came on the show a couple of days ago. And for the first time, we had a guest recommend a movie for WD to watch. And he had, he could say because of the segment, he had already seen the movie. That was the Shawshank redemption that he recommended because we were looking for, well, what kind of movie were we looking for for you to watch this week? He, he recommended a thinking man's movie thinking man.

I wish I had the drop right picture is what I believe how I am frame that. So we thought we had put this one away for whenever you were ready. We already made you watch a Quentin Tarantino film. So you knew what to be ready for. You watched Inglorious Bastards.

We've been saving this. And I thought with it being your birthday and you passing that test with iron, I feel now is the time I felt it was the time for you to watch Pulp Fiction, which you did last night. We'll see if it met your expectations at the movies. Unless you're talking about Star Wars movie one movies aren't exactly Will's thing. I don't get it.

You want cups of swine? But that's about to change because Josh can't stand it anymore. This is At The Movies with Will Dalton.

Where to begin? This movie is almost 30 years old. I could tell you liked the movie. What did you like the most about it? Uh, I enjoyed. Well, first off, did we bill it too much? Did we oversell it?

No, I don't think so. With just the like, you're not ready yet. Like I kind of get where you're coming from because it's it's a difficult movie to kind of keep up with. It jumps all over the place. It does. It's cut into like what, four chapters or something. If it wasn't a great director, this movie goes wrong.

It should not work the way that it jumps chronologically all over the place. But because it's a master at work, Quentin Tarantino, it does work. Who actually had a cameo in this movie? He did.

He has a cameo in most of his movies. So the foot massages. There's so much to get to. The foot massages talk was hilarious.

Hamburgers for breakfast. What you're hinting at is really, it's the star of this movie is screenwriting. It's the pinnacle of screenwriting.

It's not the action. It's all these conversations that people have now had for decades that originated in one person's head. Like when we talk about Quentin Tarantino, like who he is decades from now, 50 years from now, it's this movie that is going to be brought up because only it came out of one person's head, something that's truly unique. And whether it's the Royale with cheese conversation or all the, you know, the different piercings that the girl has or the conversation at, you know, the diner bar or whatever, all of it is original and very memorable. The diner was sixties thing.

Like with the cars. I thought it was more fifties, but sure. Potato, potato. I guess that was an Elvis impersonator up there when you first walk in. Marilyn Monroe or was that Johnny Cash? I don't know.

What? Johnny Cash. You don't know any of these people are. You probably recognize who the person on stage with Marilyn Monroe handing the award off was making the announcement. I don't recall. Ed Sullivan.

Oh yeah, I know Ed Sullivan. Okay. Clearly. What didn't you like? What was the girl's name? We're talking Fabian.

We're talking Fabian. Bruce Willis's girlfriend in this movie. Because I, I kind of was like, meh. And then when you came in today and we discussed it, I'm like, so you, you were like, that's, it's the one for all of this movie. Right. Where she's talking about pot bellies and talking about pancakes.

None of it's good. And I went back through and watched just specifically her scenes. I'm like, Oh yeah. Also killing off Travolta's character. What was that?

It's a mistake for this reason. You could have, I would have watched a like a spinoff series of course, of just Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta playing those characters on television shows and movies. Well, that's all toast because you killed Travolta. And for what? I don't think thematically and with the plot you had to do that.

Those are a few things I did. Why did he get killed again? It fit better into the story that Quentin wanted to tell.

I guess he's not a sequels guy, even though he split Kill Bill into a couple of movies, technically. Also Samuel L. Jackson's hair. Not it.

I don't know, man. Looked like something out of an SNL skin. I liked it.

I like his hair. You watch your mouth when you talk about Jules. What's the best quote?

Really? Every line reading that Samuel L. Jackson had in this movie could be best quote. When he reads the- Say what again! When he reads scripture right before he cleans out a room, Ezekiel, to be specific, I forget the passage.

I think it's Ezekiel 255, I don't know. Tell her to chill out. Tell her to be cool.

To be cool. I forget, what was the girl's name again? I forget. Yolanda? Yeah.

Tell her to be cool. Say- Correctomundo. That, check out the brain on Brad. That is a tasty burger.

Are you finished? Well, allow me to retort. So great. But if you want to go other characters like Travolta, oh man, I shot Marvin in the face.

It's pretty good. Bruce Willis, I had to crash that Honda baby. Where's my Honda? I had to crash that Honda baby. Zed's dead, baby.

Zed's dead. By the way, the scene in the basement of the pawn shop or whatever that was. Yeah, that's tough. That was kind of a tough watch.

Okay. What do you think Pulp Fiction got on Rotten Tomatoes? The audience score. I feel like this got a 91. 96. That's within five.

That is within five. Congratulations. Thank you. You've watched Pulp Fiction and that's been At The Movies with the WD.

Not a lot of energy in that. With the WD. Thank you.

All right, I think all the levels are set. Showtime. Now?

Right now. You're on the drive with Josh Graham. I'm here without you, baby.

But you're still on my lonely mind. I hate you so much. This is production work at its finest. Something I thought was set amongst friends just a half hour ago now means for people to win tickets. All about that content.

Hashtag content. That's your cue to call in if you want tickets to go see Three Doors Down. 336-777-1600. First to call in gets tickets.

Win them before you can buy them in either Charlotte or in Raleigh late August, early September. I don't know if Three Doors Down would be a good karaoke choice, which is a bad transition to Will Pelagic, voice of Charlotte FC that joins us now. I do remember, though, I was on in the morning show in Charlotte at WFNZ and they were asking me about karaoke. And I think we got to you talking about what types of songs you might thrive at. And I always pictured you as being like a jazzy Frank Sinatra type of singer walking around the room, maybe singing My Way or Luck Be a Lady. Do I have a good read on you?

Not quite. I did do karaoke on my honeymoon. There was a karaoke night on my honeymoon and I did, I'm trying to remember, I did September. Wow.

Earth Wind and Fire. That's outstanding. I did something similar on my honeymoon. It was Why Georgia John Mayer. That's what I did. And I also did, I got a very deep country genre. So I did some Chicken Fried by Zac Brown Band. Excellent choices. Will Pelagic, you will hear his voice along with Jess Sharman on Saturday as Charlotte FC faces the New York Red Bulls in Charlotte on Saturday night.

Let's start here. After netting just one goal over their previous three games, Charlotte FC, they broke through with two and finally got into the win column in Orlando last weekend. Was the breakthrough in Orlando more about inevitable breakthrough, just continuing to do the same thing until it works? Or did you notice a tactical difference? Oh, there was definitely a tactical difference, Josh. Christian Letanzio made five changes game over game from what we saw in both the St. Louis and Atlanta game at the start. He basically changed everything from the outside. He took out the two wingers. He took out two of the outside defenders and put in a whole new bunch and also moved Brent Bronico back to his customary midfield.

It paid immediate dividends. Kerwin Vargas scored his first MLS goal, which was the second goal of the game scored by Charlotte FC. And then Enzo Capetti got what I thought was one of the best passes we've seen from a Charlotte FC player, from Charlotte native Jalen Lindsay, a pass from the outside defense on the right side that split right between him, him being Capetti and Mackenzie Gaines, the right winger. And Capetti made no mistake in the box. It was I think it was inevitable that we were going to see some goals, but I think a lot of it was an intentional move by Christian Letanzio to try to get more offense on the field. And they played probably their best half of soccer.

They played in a very, very long time, if not ever with the first forty five they had in Orlando. Remind our audience when it comes to the MLS season, see college basketball, I always say is more of a sprint. It's not a marathon.

The NBA, on the other hand, is definitely in the latter category, more of a marathon. The bad start for Charlotte FC. How much of how much does that hold them back moving forward in the larger scheme of a season?

It very much does. And heck, a win this weekend and the right results could put them back in a playoff table spot. I mean, it's it's when you have a scenario where nine teams in the Eastern Conference are going to make the postseason or at least eight make the you know, the rounds that end up having series. And then there is one play in round there with the eight seed, the ninth seed. But when you have that type of leeway and you have a 34 round season and the wins are worth three points and the draws are worth one, you have some opportunity to kind of get your stuff together.

Granted, you don't want to be going in the way. Fifth, the fifth week of the season at one and three. But I think the nature of the season is very forgiving. If you think about the way Charlotte started a year ago, they had the same start, lost the first three, won their first game in the fourth round, convincing fashion. And they were able to get enough wins in the middle part of the season to where they went on a run. They drew points in four of their final five matchups and they were one win away from getting into the playoffs a year ago. So, yes, there's time.

But I also feel like you're doing yourself your best solid if you're able to make sure that you are touch perfect when you start off the season. Follow him on Twitter at Willie P. Style. It's Will Pelagic, the voice of Charlotte FC joining us. You could listen to Charlotte FC New York Red Bulls on Saturday right here on WSJS. And in the spirit of the Red Bulls being the opponent in Charlotte Saturday, what's your go to energy or caffeinated beverage when you're feeling off or tired? I only ask that because I've had to pound a couple chai tea lattes today because I have a new puppy and the puppy decided not to sleep last night.

So I was sleeping on the floor next to her crate all last night. I don't know if Red Bull is the choice, but what is it for Will Pelagic? I'm not really an energy drink kind of guy. I was a very big soda guy growing up.

Going on the diet, I had to cut back significantly. There is actually a zero sugar soda that I got really familiar with when I was on the Ph.D. weight loss diet, which is called Zevia. But other than that, it's just straight up black coffee for me. I don't put anything in it. I don't put any sugar in it.

Wow. There is a part of the diet where they can actually they allow you to put butter in it, which I didn't think that I'd like. I honestly, the first time I tried it, it tasted disgusting.

And now I almost like it more. My taste buds have gone only accustomed to it. I almost like the butter coffee more than regular black coffee. And it's great for the metabolism and it's great for your it gets it gets the coffee in the bloodstream a lot quicker that way. Related note, W.D., how many cups of coffee have you had today?

It's only three fifty in the afternoon. I've had two cups and I currently have a C4 energy over here. So you are a savage. I used to drink a heck of a lot more younger days and I just I had to I had to cut back. It was giving me heart palpitations. I couldn't do it. What a savage over there.

OK, let's close things out. Bryce Young threw today. Yesterday it was CJ Stroud.

Where do you stand between those two? So if it's me, if you're asking me, I'm asking you, I personally like CJ Stroud a little more than Bryce Young because I think CJ Stroud is the safer pick. But the more and more I think about the way they have formulated their team, I think the move to go up to one and the pieces that they put together, it makes me think it's Bryce Young, despite the love fest we saw yesterday with CJ Stroud. I think they want to put together a more solid offensive line in front of Young than he had at Alabama. I think they get a possession guy and feeling and they will figure out the speed guy, whether it's DJ Chark or whoever they get in the draft. There's also the thought about trading for new Hopkins.

I do think there's another receiver on this board by the time we get to the 22nd of April. And I also feel like the Miles Sanders part also allows them to to lean on the running game a little bit, because there are going to be some times where Bryce Young is under siege and a guy like Miles Sanders is great for a guy in that character. Not saying that those pieces don't work with CJ Stroud, but I honestly think the the Bryce Young infatuation is very much real.

Yeah, it is real. I just hope it ends up where both of our assessments are at. It ends up being CJ Stroud, just because the way I put it is it's the difference between a trust fund baby and a scholarship grant kid, the Panthers and say the Houston Texans, the Texans, they have that number two pick and they pick at 12 and they didn't give up anything for the future to take the guy. So it's less risk attached to taking Bryce Young if you're Houston.

If you're Carolina, well, you traded up everything to get to number one. That guy better get to a second contract. He better not have those injury concerns or else you're going to be in tough luck. But again, the thing about it is, do you trade up for safe or do you trade up for the potential for extraordinary? See, it depends on whether or not you think CJ Stroud can be extraordinary. And well, we won't know the answer to that. That's the biggest, that's the biggest question about him, unfortunately. Yeah.

Wopologic, well said, man. And look forward to listening to you on Saturday. Thanks for the time. And we'll talk to you next week. We're getting you down to a game. Mark my words. Yes, it's going to happen maybe in April, by the way.

Like I see you got a couple of games back to back in April. I'm looking at that. Believe me, I got it circled and I'm taking WD with me. He's never been. I haven't. Oh, absolutely. Yeah, he's never been. And he's got the Charlotte Hornets toboggan.

So he, I mean, he's a lot better. You need to do it outside of the press box. We'd get you in the supporters section amongst the beer showers and everything like that. Oh boy. All in all in Willy P. You're the man. Have a great call this weekend.

Love you guys. Darren Gant from joins us now. He was in Columbus in addition to the rest of the Carolina Panthers organization yesterday.

I don't know, Darren, did Serper make the trip? Like where did the line get drawn at? Who was invited to the pro days both yesterday and today? Yeah, I think the line was basically everybody behind me. You know, it was it was a pretty pretty sizable. Jim Caldwell said yesterday, if it's three or four people, it's a group.

If it's more than 10, it's a contingent. So that's so we had a contingent in Ohio and there was a contingent that did not include me. Our own Augusta Stone was riding from Alabama today. And I am currently coming to you from a some Marriott property in northern Kentucky stand where we will see Will Levis tomorrow. Yes, Will Levis. I'm wearing Tennessee gear right now. I remember running into Scott Fitterer in Knoxville, Tennessee, and we both watched Will Levis throw three interceptions and he told me that was the only time he had ever been to Knoxville. So let's hope for Will Levis sake that he had a chance to watch him in some other game up close other than that one.

And we hope he doesn't throw three interceptions tomorrow because that would be a problem. Darren Gant, in your story at, you revealed that C.J. Stroud had a sea bass for dinner a couple of nights ago. I want all the details you can give me about the dinner. Like, was it since there are so many people, was it like a golden corral style table that circular that everybody could talk to everybody? There are so many people on this trip, like who's sitting closest to C.J.?

Like, how does this work? Listen, Dave and Nicole only sprang for the finest seafood central Ohio has to offer. And apparently, in addition to the sea bass, C.J. washed it all down with a strawberry lemonade. That's reporting you can only get right here at And we've also got the details. Apparently last night in Alabama, Young Bryce Young went with the scallops.

Strawberry lemonade. So file that away. We're out here doing the Lord's work for the readers because we do it for the people at

No, they they are taking a big group for a reason. And I know it's become a bit of a punch line the last couple of days. And frankly, as I look at this screen, I look like a guy who could use a haircut and a shave.

I need to get off the road for a second, I think. But no time soon for that. This is all done on purpose. I mean, Dave Tepper went through a very abbreviated and very emotional probably process when he was hiring a head coach in 2020. And we saw that worked out.

And so this time, I think he's learned something from that. When he hired Frank Reich, he he was one of nine to interview for that job. They've had position coach gigs where they've interviewed six, seven people.

And that's not common. So I think they're going above and beyond to make sure they're thorough in everything they do. And that includes these dinners.

That includes sending the whole company down there and in multiple planes, none of which are commercial except for the ones I'm on with the digital team. But it's okay because Dave and Nicole have their own. They're doing this on purpose to get to know these guys because you can't overstate how important this decision is for this franchise. You're talking about a team that really hasn't enjoyed having that kind of quote unquote franchise quarterback since the Pittsburgh game on Thursday night when Cam Newton's shoulder finally took that last hit that wrecked it forever. And since then, they've been scrambling around looking at the veteran of the year.

Frank Wright got on that wheel for five years in Indianapolis after Andrew Luck retired on him in a in a sudden manner. So you've got people who are desperate to find that guy. So if you're going to go to all that trouble, you want to make sure you get it right. So they're they're sitting down at a table with a couple hundred years worth of NFL experience between playing and coaching in guys like Frank Reich and Josh McCown and Jim Caldwell. You're sitting there with Dan Morgan and Scott Fitterer and the scouting apparatus and David Nicole, who are the ultimate decision makers because they own the team. So I think it's an opportunity for them to kind of get to know these guys at a different level, see how they tick. But beyond all the tape they've watched, beyond the pro days, beyond the dinners, they're going to have all these guys come to Charlotte in the next couple of weeks to when they get back from their owners meetings and Anthony Richardson's next week down in Gainesville. You know, they're going to do this all again and they're going to roll these guys through. We'll see where they take them to eat in Charlotte.

I'm looking for recommendations. Maybe they'll swing them by Bojangles and the Bojangler will still be on the menu by then. Remember, on a biscuit instead of a bar. Understood. Yeah. Darren Gantz with us here from Who wins a game of horse between Josh McCown and C.J.

Stroud? Josh McCown is sneaky athletic. I don't even think it's sneaky. He's just straight up athletic. Does he have deceptive speed? Coach's kid? Yeah. I mean, Josh is he is not one of these guys who's sneaky fast. He's a gym rat.

Yeah. Coach on the floor. He is.

And now he's a coach on the floor. So he he he wants to believe he can go with any of these guys. I was actually talking to a couple other people in our C.J.

Stroud piece last night, which seems like days and days ago. Some of the some of the folks who've known him from Columbus, C.J. Saunders, who's on the roster here, played in some pickup basketball games with him and said, you know, he's he's pretty intense out there. I talked to some of their recruiting folks who have Charlotte ties. I encourage everybody to read that story on Panthers dot com for a fuller understanding of each of these prospects. But they talked about how even in games of pickup basketball between football players, they said the intensity anytime CJ's on the floor just goes through the roof, that he's that guy on the pickup court.

So Josh might have more than a bargain for if they if they get to that one, if they go out there to the hoop in the atrium health dome back behind the stadium, I think it could go poorly for Josh. Are you familiar with the movie Sin of a Woman? I vaguely it's been a long time.

I remember the, oh, yeah. Al Pacino winning the Oscar. But there are two younger actors in this movie prominently. Chris O'Donnell, who is like the scholarship grant kid that's at this preppy school and he's only there because he needed the grant, maybe athletic, something like that. And if he messes it up, he's probably going back to Oregon and working at a convenience store for the rest of his life.

And then you got Philip Seymour Hoffman, who is the ultimate trust fund baby who, you know, daddy can just talk to somebody and things are taken care of if something goes wrong. To me, it seems like because Carolina traded to the number one pick, they're Chris O'Donnell. They're the scholarship grant kid, to your point, that has to get the pick right. They need somebody who's on their second contract at a minimum to feel like they're going to win this trade against Chicago. And then Houston's a team. Hey, you know, we're going to be picking here anyway.

We got to pick at twelve. Maybe they could take the more polished guy. And if it doesn't work out, they're not crippled as an organization. Do you think that the Panthers pick as a result at number one is going to be driven on risk assessment more than who the more polished player is right now? I don't know how you divide those up.

I don't know how you make that distinction. I mean, they're in a position where, honestly, they're going to take the one they think gives them the best chance to win, because if you don't take that guy and you don't win, that's when a bunch of people get fired. I mean, how many coaches and general managers get chances to take multiple number one picks? So if you don't get this thing right, they're going there's going to be a lot of turnover. I mean, that's the cold, hard reality of the NFL. So it's I think it's incumbent on these guys to draft somebody they know they can win with. That's why I think it's important to go above and beyond researching, identifying traits, figuring out what makes guys tick. I mean, trying to get in their heads as much as you can in a limited amount of time, because this is a job interview they've got to get right. They've got to find the right guy for this thing, or they have given up a lot of assets to be in a bad spot.

Let me ask it a different way. I guess if Bryce Young seemed to be not a 15 year guy in the league or even a 10 year guy, he's a six, seven year player based on what we know about injuries with guys who are six feet or smaller. Let's just frame it that way. Do you think Carolina says, sign us up for six, seven great years with this guy versus the possibility, given the frame of CJ Stroud, that he might potentially be a more longer term option than that? I think it's a little bit of a trap to try to think of anybody in the NFL as a 10 year answer at any position, because how many guys actually play that long in the NFL? The average career length is under four seasons. So you hope you can get into the second contract and have a guy for enough years that he can carry into that kind of thing. I think you've got to expect that you want it to be correct in the first two or three years. If it's not, that's when there's going to be problems. I think when you look at what Philadelphia did this year with Jalen Hurts, when you look at a couple of the situations where guys had success early, that's kind of the expectation anymore.

I don't know. Drew Brees played for a long time. Russ has been at this a decade. So I don't know that it's impossible that somebody the size of CJ Stroud or the size of Bryce Young can do this for a long time. I just think you've got to look at the player. This is beginning to kind of resemble something I talked about a lot in 2011 when Cam Newton and is he that guy and can he play in a pro style offense? The answers, as we know now in hindsight, were obviously yes, of course he could and he could do it at a high level. But back then there was some degree of debate and I remember telling people in 11 just trust your eyeballs. What did you see when you watched all that tape and you did watch all that tape?

What did you see? And when I watched Bryce Young, I saw a guy who got it done at a high level against all the guys. And when I saw CJ Stroud, I saw a guy who got it done at a very high level in that Georgia game. But other than that Georgia game, was he that guy? If not for that game, would we be talking about him in this context? I mean, that Georgia game clearly matters.

It clearly means something. I just don't know that I want to make it everything for a couple of reasons, including the fact that he lost. And it is a good point because I think if you go back and look at it, if Utah doesn't upset USC in the Pac-12 championship game, Ohio State doesn't go to the playoff and if Ohio State doesn't go to the playoff, Stroud probably ops out and we don't get that Georgia game. And if we don't have the Georgia game, I don't think this is even a conversation. I think Bryce Young is probably the number one pet. He said in the past, especially if that situation unfolded, then his last game would have been Michigan, which clearly wasn't all his fault.

But that's not the way anybody from Ohio State wants to go into a draft process. By the way, speaking of, yesterday when I was in Columbus, I did wear my Today I Give My All for Appalachian State shirt, made a lot of new friends in Columbus. They were very happy to see me. As it turns out, we've got a lot in common. You know who my East Carolina Fighting Pirates opened up with this year? Who's that?

Ann Ann Arbor at Michigan. Play hard. And then the week after that, they go up the mountain to Boone. So you and I will be at odds that we will be better. That one was that one was bad enough for you guys when it was at Bank of America Stadium.

Imagine when you go to the rock. Oh, all right. You're in Lexington. Are the Panthers going to be having dinner with Will Levis? Oh, they are. How about it? Are you going to be invited?

We can copy and paste a lot of this stuff. They're going to have dinner with Anthony Richardson next Wednesday night also. Is Darren Gant invited, though? No, I'm not on that. I'm not in that one. I try to figure out what I can on the back side of that, do as much reporting as I possibly can.

But no, I did not. I'm currently trying to scavenge through some hors d'oeuvres here at the M Lounge at the Mary Ives property. On the way out for you, Bruce Springsteen's performing Greensboro on Saturday this week. Where does Bruce rank among the older acts that are going right now? And to qualify older acts, if you were a big act in the 80s, then and you're still performing now, yet you qualify as an older act now. Older being the 80s.

Thanks for that. I'm sorry. It's 40 years, though. It's 40 years now. That's an older act. I just may hang my head and do the rest of this segment in shame. I'm sorry.

What have we become? I would like to see Bruce Springsteen. It's not the defining... We have kind of an industry joke about he's every sportswriter's favorite singer and they talk about it an awful lot.

Jason Isbell has moved into that category now among the younger set. But I would like to see Bruce Springsteen for the same reason when I go to Europe this summer. I want to see Big Ben in the Louvre.

I want to see those iconic things. So yeah, I would love to see Bruce Springsteen. He doesn't move me in the same way. And again, I joke about the old sportswriters and they say, he speaks to me.

Well, people like Steve Earl and Townes Van Zandt or Jason Isbell speak to me because of regional context. But I would still enjoy to see a Bruce Springsteen show at some point soon. Got my Murrell best tickets a couple of days ago. Still got an extra one. Yeah, I'm tinting this year. If I can get them to trade away all these other draft picks, maybe I could join you.

But those pesky seconds, thirds, fourths, and fifths are still clogging up my weekend. Yeah, you know, you know, I still got it. Just letting you know. Darren Gant, enjoy a place that loves me so much. Lexington, Kentucky.

I enjoyed those people over the weekend. By the way, we drove by Rupp Arena on the way in and I kind of expected that place to look like an actual barn or something made of wood, but it's very modern. Shopping mall. There's like a shopping mall attached to it. So if you want to buy some like antiques before you go watch a basketball game, you could do that in Lexington. There you go. Darren Gant. Thank you, buddy. You got it, man.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-03-24 00:28:54 / 2023-03-24 00:47:10 / 18

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