Carolina Panthers

No. 4 worst NFL Draft pick in Panthers history: Eric Shelton

Panthers second-round pick Eric Shelton’s career got off to a late start, and he struggled on the field once it did.
Panthers second-round pick Eric Shelton’s career got off to a late start, and he struggled on the field once it did. Staff Photographer

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

No. 4 worst pick: RB Eric Shelton (2005)

The 2006 NFL Draft class introduced an incredible crop of running backs into the league, including three 4,000-plus-yard rushers in the draft’s first five selections.

The Panthers looked to tap into the running-back market in the second round, selecting Louisville product Eric Shelton with the No. 54 overall pick. At 6-foot-1, 246 pounds, Shelton bullied his way to 1,728 yards and 30 touchdowns in two seasons at Louisville, averaging 5.5 yards per carry. But that physicality he brought to the field in college never quite made it to Bank of America Stadium.

Shelton broke his foot before his rookie season began and missed the entire year, then only played in nine games in 2006, rushing for 23 yards on eight carries. The Panthers released him before the start of the 2007 season.

Carolina traded back to draft Shelton, swapping its original No. 45 pick for the Seattle Seahawks’ No. 54 pick. That No. 45 selection became All-Pro linebacker Lofa Tatupu. But the bigger gut-punch for the Panthers is the player who went 11 picks after Shelton — five-time Pro Bowl running back Frank Gore.



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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