Football

No. 9 worst NFL Draft pick in Panthers history: Jeff Otah

The Panthers traded up to select Jeff Otah (79) in the first round in 2008, giving up a first, second, and fourth-round pick to do so.
The Panthers traded up to select Jeff Otah (79) in the first round in 2008, giving up a first, second, and fourth-round pick to do so. JEFF SINER - jsiner@charlotteobs

The Carolina Panthers are a successful, albeit young franchise with only 23 NFL Drafts to analyze. But as the team prepares for draft number 24, we look back at some of the highs and lows along the way.

Welcome to the dark side of the NFL Draft, as we visit the 10 worst picks in Panthers history.

No. 9 Worst Pick — OT Jeff Otah (2008)

The Panthers were rumored to be high on Otah entering the 2008 NFL Draft, which they proved by trading for him on draft day.

He immediately slid in as Carolina’s starting right tackle and, to his credit, started every game he appeared in over the next two seasons. He’s on this list, however, because of what the Panthers gave up for him and the abrupt end to his NFL career.

Carolina traded its second-round (No. 43) and fourth-round (No. 109) picks in 2008 and its first-round pick in 2009 to the Philadelphia Eagles for the No. 19 pick, which it used on Otah. Future Pro Bowlers like DeSean Jackson, Calais Campbell and Josh Sitton were drafted shortly after the Panthers’ original picks in 2008, while the first-rounder in 2009 became Pro Bowl center Eric Wood.

Otah only played in 29 of 48 possible games with the Panthers, a knee injury keeping him off the field the other 19 games. He was eventually traded to the New York Jets in 2012 but failed his physical, thus voiding the trade. Carolina released him shortly after and he hasn’t played in the NFL since.



Marcel Louis-Jacques covers the Carolina Panthers for the Charlotte Observer, keeping you on top of Panthers news both on the field and behind the scenes. He is a 2014 graduate of Arizona State University and grew up in Sacramento, California.

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