Originally written on cover32 - Panthers  |  Last updated 12/15/14

Carolina Panthers linebacker Dan Morgan sets on defense against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers November 6, 2005 in Tampa. The Panthers defeated the Bucs 34 - 14. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
We’re about to enter the final stretch before that event at Radio City Music Hall in May but first, let’s take a look back at arguably the greatest draft in Carolina Panthers history: 2001. 2001: An NFL Odyssey was a fun year in the grand scheme of football history. LaDainian Tomlinson and Reggie Wayne joined the league. So too did Drew Brees and a little guy from Virginia Tech named Michael Vick. But it was also an amazing year for the Panthers. Here were their first three picks. -No. 11 LB Dan Morgan (Miami) Morgan, who’s currently the Assistant Director of Pro Personnel for the Seahawks made an impact from the start in Charlotte. In his rookie season, he started 11 games, grabbing 67 tackles, as well as a sack, fumble recovery, and an interception. The next year, a Morgan-involved defense that was ranked last in the NFL in ’01 moved up to second in the league in 2002, a jump that still seems shocking to this day. His biggest accomplishments though took place in the following two seasons when he helped the Panthers get to Super Bowl XXXVIII before reaching the Pro Bowl in 2004 with 101 tackles, 2 sacks, two interceptions and a forced fumble. -No. 44 DT Kris Jenkins (Maryland) Despite injury problems in his later years, Jenkins had phenomenal 2002 and 2003 seasons. In ’02, he finished with 44 tackles and 7 sacks, earning a Pro Bowl bid after replacing an injured Warren Sapp. Jenkins was a big part of the aforementioned Super Bowl run in ’03 when he had 48 tackles and 5 sacks. That year, he had one of his best games ever when the Panthers beat the defending champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers in overtime after Jenkins blocked not one but two kicks. -No. 74 WR Steve Smith (Utah) It seems silly now but many forget there were plenty of scouts who had their doubts about Smith, hence his third round availability. Their concerns? His height at 5-foot-9. At the time, that made sense. Now, it seems ridiculous. As we all know, Smitty would go on to have a legendary career in a Panthers uniform before his release earlier this year (link). Smith is a five-time Pro Bowler and the Panthers all-time leader in receptions (836), total touchdowns (69), and receiving yards (12,197). Safe to say, if the Panthers can draft half as well this year, they should be in pretty good shape. You may also be interested in:Throwback Thursday: The best draft class in Carolina Panthers historyThe Carolina Panthers are playing in one of the 10 best NFL games in 2014A proposed new Carolina Panthers uniform is pretty sweet

Chargers keep playoff hopes alive with comeback win

Robin Lopez responds to Khloe Kardashian dating rumors

Report: Jermaine O'Neal 'intrigued' about joining Mavs

Report: Robert Griffin III likely to return to Redskins

Izzo criticizes coaches, players after embarrassing loss

Report: Kings, Nets talking Deron Williams trade


Is Rampage Jackson heading back to the UFC?

WATCH: DeSean Jackson mocks Eagles after win

Michael Vick: Jameis Winston is the future of the NFL

Report: No NFL team is moving to Los Angeles in 2015

Report: 49ers looking for young, offensive mind as next coach

Sheldon Richardson: I'm on the same level as JJ Watt

Dan Mullen wears funny 'Christmas Vacation' sweater

WATCH: Redskins FB gets in Eagles fan's face after TD

WATCH: Utah runs trick play on first offensive play of game

Mick Cronin misses game with unruptured aneurysm

Steve Alford: Kentucky is best team I've coached against

Peyton Siva jokes that Rick Pitino is in the mob

WATCH: Montrezl Harrell ejected for throwing punch

UNC wearing Jordan-era throwback uniforms

Brian Kelly: Justin Brent gets 'distracted,' is in my doghouse

Five free agent signings that should happen in 2015

Reporter asks Rajon Rondo awkward question about trade

Video: Swaggy P elbows Steven Adams in throat, gets ejected

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Mullen wears funny Christmas sweater

RG3 returning to Redskins?

Tom Izzo hot after bad loss

Kings, Nets talking Deron Williams trade

WATCH: DeSean mocks Eagles

Vick: Winston is the future of the NFL

No NFL team in LA next season?

UNC rocking Jordan-era throwbacks

Reporter asks Rondo awkward question

Three quarterbacks who could be traded this offseason

Jon Lester and the Cubs

Report: NFL players used 'horny juice'

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.