There's irony in Carolina's DT quandary

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

My AFC South colleague Paul Kuharsky and I were chatting earlier this week as he prepared to write a column on defensive tackles who have wandered the league a bit before finally finding a home.

He threw out a few names -- Tony Brown, Jovan Haye and Atiyyah Ellison -- and I had one quick reaction: At one time or another, each of those guys spent time with the Carolina Panthers.

That's more than a little ironic because, as Kuharsky writes, all three of those guys are thriving now at a time when the Panthers are desperate for help at defensive tackle. Since Maake Kemoeatu went down with a season-ending injury on the first day of camp, the Panthers have been using some young tackles next to Damione Lewis. But it's almost certain they'll add a tackle with some experience either through a trade or picking up someone who's been released elsewhere.

Should you point the finger at Carolina's coaching staff or front office for letting Brown, Haye and Ellison slip through the cracks? Not really, even though I'm sure the Panthers would be glad to have any one of them right now.

Brown was a guy the Panthers really liked, but he was with the Panthers at a time when they were loaded at defensive tackle. Haye's stint with the Panthers was as a defensive end and he didn't slide inside until he joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. You can throw some blame at Carolina's scouting department for Ellison.

He was a third-round pick in 2005, but firmly qualified as a bust in his first training camp. He got cut that preseason and spent much of that year on the practice squad. Carolina might have been able to develop Ellison as a project, but the Panthers expected a quicker payout from a third-round pick.