Old North Banter Daily Links 6/3: Chris Paul, Panthers, MLB Draft

CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 17: Luke Kuechly #59 of the Carolina Panthers warms up before their game against the Green Bay Packers at Bank of America Stadium on December 17, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
CHARLOTTE, NC - DECEMBER 17: Luke Kuechly #59 of the Carolina Panthers warms up before their game against the Green Bay Packers at Bank of America Stadium on December 17, 2017 in Charlotte, North Carolina. (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

Three Carolina Panthers land in Pro Football Focus’ top 100 game performances – Jaxon

"When I first dove into this article my first thought was ‘certainly Luke Kuechly’s 2015 Thanksgiving day massacre of the Cowboys in Dallas is on the list. I was correct, the game logged in at No. 26.Those rush color uniforms the Panthers wore that day are now legend. Luke made those ugly things look GOOD!The second Panthers player performance on the board is tight end Greg Olsen who’s best game ever landed at No. 88 (what a coincidence!):Olsen shredded the Bucs on one of the few bright spots of the 2016 season.The Panthers third entry is a bit of shocker. Well at least until you see the entire top 10 and you realize that lineman get a lot of attention in the PFF grading program. Which is why Panthers tight end Jeff King landed at No. 54."

The first two Panthers making the list were no surprise to me. That Thanksgiving game Kuechly put on was a defensive clinic on how to single-handedly molly-whop a team.

He might not have had the huge tackling numbers (seven total for the game), but his two interceptions, including one taken back to the endzone, were a huge part as to why the Panthers won that game 33-14.

What surprised me was the appearance of Jeff King on the list. Pro Football Focus tends to value the skill of blocking a lot more than the average fan, as their main justification was that King received only four down-grades on run blocking plays out of the 44 run blocking snaps he had during the 28-21 against the Tampa Bay Bucs in week nine of the 2009 season.

His blocking help spring Jonathan Stewart and Deangelo Williams lose for a combined 47 carries for 262 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. It was all he really did in that game two, has his contributions catching the ball were for two catches for eight yards and a touchdown.

Charlotte Hornets: Analyzing what a Chris Paul trade would mean – Giovanni Spillman

"In my most recent piece, in which you can read here, I suggested that the Hornets are likely interested in the Rockets’ Clint Capela. It now looks like they’re interested in Paul too.Don’t get me wrong, Chris Paul is a heck of a player, and he would probably be a great mentor to Charlotte’s younger players, but he’s no Kemba Walker. His contract situation would hurt the Hornets more than Walker’s potential supermax contract.Paul is set to make over $38 million in the 2019-20 season, and then $41 million in the following season after. This is a crazy contract, and it would take up a third of Charlotte’s cap spac"

I would just like to start off by saying that I disagree with the notion that Kemba is a better point guard than Chris Paul. Sure, Kemba may be a pure scorer in the way Paul isn’t, but Paul is one of the best facilitators in the game.

While I think the average fan would love to have arguably a top-3 NBA point guard, the points that Giovanni makes about the hefty size of taking on Chris Paul’s contract make sense.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s daily links, Kemba will be the biggest target for the Hornets and fits more into what they want to do in the long-term, despite being eligible for the supermax contract. If Chris Paul wants to win now, I don’t think its prudent of the Hornets to trade for him, as they are constantly in the purgatory of being too bad to make the playoffs, but not so awful that they can acquire a generational talent.

Panthers, Browns or Ravens: Which team gives Gerald McCoy the best chance to win? – Tim Weaver

"While the Panthers aren’t expected to do as well as the Browns or the Ravens this season, they do have their own selling points.First and foremost, a healthy Cam Newton is the player most likely to give McCoy a legitimate shot to win a ring late in his career. Newton is a former MVP who has never really had a proper supporting cast. The Panthers front office has gone all out the last couple of offseasons to change that, though.The offensive line should be much improved this year with the additions of Matt Paradis and Greg Little and the exit of Matt Kalil. Newton also has a loaded young receiver corps and an elite running back to take some of the pressure off.There remain questions about the back end, but Carolina’s defense has also gotten an upgrade up front. Brian Burns, Christian Miller and Bruce Irvin should help boost a pass rush that finished No. 27 in sacks last year. Signing McCoy would only reinforce that trend.However, there’s no guarantee that Cam’s throwing shoulder will hold up for a full season, and the NFC South is arguably the toughest division in the league. At the very least, it’s the only one with a future Hall of Fame quarterback and two other potential HOFers."

Couple things here: I agree with Weaver about the NFC South being the toughest division in football, but not the notion that Matt Ryan and Jameis Winston are two potential Hall-of-Fame caliber quarterbacks. Ryan may get there one day, but I think it’s safe to say Jameis’ talent range is probably about average to above average in talent.

All be told, the Browns will probably be the best chance Gerald McCoy will have to win, as that defensive line already has Myles Garret, Olivier Vernon and Sheldon Richardson on it and a vastly improved offense that can keep the defense off the field for long stretches during the game.

I hope I’m wrong and McCoy will take the Panthers despite all the unknowns such as Cam’s shoulder health or the lack of production from the defense in terms of sacks or his fit into the new 3-4 scheme being implemented in Carolina, but if everything works out he could be on a winning team and be *slightly* closer to his family, which I think is also what he wants.

Duke Baseball: Blue Devils sweep Morgantown, headed to Super Regional

"For the second year in a row and the second time in school history, the Duke Blue Devils are headed to the Super Regional of the NCAA Tournament.Last year Duke did it the hard way by losing its first game in the Regional, but this year the Blue Devils dominated the Morgantown Regional, sweeping the regional and defeating Texas A&M for the second time, this time by a 4-1 margin."

I think it’s safe to say that none of us had Duke heading to the Super Regional round and N.C. State being sent home after the first weekend of the NCAA Baseball tournament.

Duke had a tough situations in the first inning by allowing Texas A&M to get runners on early but managed to get out of the jam and come away with the win.

The road only gets tougher for the Blue Devils, however, as they will be tasked with dispatching the Vanderbilt Commodores, who are currently ranked as the second-best team in the country.

MLB Mock Draft 2019: Adley Rutschman still favorite to go No. 1; Andrew Vaughn drops a few spots – Mike Axisa

"This is our third and final mock draft. We previously released mock drafts on May 6and May 20. Much like every other year, plenty has changed in the four weeks leading up to the draft. Here is the latest prior to Monday night’s draft launch."

This post is definitely a big read, but it is definitely worth the time. It is one of the more extensive mocks I have seen so far.

As it stands right now, North Carolina as a state will have four projected first-round picks Monday night. N.C. State shortstop Will Wilson, Elon RHP George Kirby, UNC 1B/OF Michael Busch and UNC-Wilmington SS Greg Jones.

All four seem to be set to go wonderful situations in the majors, and I’m sure there will be plenty of beer-related jokes to be made about Busch playing at Coors Field, but we will have to wait and see tonight at 7 p.m. on the MLB Network.