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Volume 26 No. 227
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Panthers Enlist Folk Legend James Taylor For Draft Announcement

NFL Panthers brass have used the quarantine period to set the bar high for their social media team, and their efforts were evident last night when folk legend James Taylor unveiled draft pick Derrick Brown to the tune of “Carolina In My Mind.” Panthers Social Media Manager Amie Kiehn said her staff was motivated by VP/Communications & External Affairs Steven Drummond and President Tom Glick to push the envelope during the pandemic rather than take a step back. “We’re really trying to push ourselves and think differently,” Kiehn told THE DAILY this morning. About three weeks ago, Kiehn was catching up via Facetime with a former colleague, Jared Kleinstein, the Founder & CEO of Colorado-based Fresh Tape Media. Kleinstein spontaneously started singing Taylor’s iconic song and jokingly suggested the Panthers reach out to Taylor’s agent to see if he would help announce the pick. After a quick Google search, Kiehn had an email request out. Just a few days later, Taylor’s rep agreed.

MOCKING IT UP: Kiehn’s team was not able to confide with new Panthers coach Matt Rhule and his football operations staff on who might be selected with the 7th pick. Instead, they used mock drafts to figure out five potential players the Panthers might select and sent the list to Taylor. “I was sweating yesterday morning when I saw some names I hadn’t thought of,” Kiehn said. The team gave Taylor free rein to decide how he wanted to announce the pick, as long as it included the line of “(draft pick’s name) is going to Carolina.” Taylor and his son shot five separate videos from his living room (on an iPhone) of the potential picks and got them back to Kiehn on Wednesday night. The team used some in-house shots of Charlotte and other Panthers graphics to complete the 33-second clip. Kiehn had other content on deck in case none of the five players were selected. “We put the ball in their court, and James delivered more than expected,” Kiehn said.

DROP-IN FROM STEPH: The Panthers also hosted a virtual draft party on Twitter and the team website Thursday night. The show featured longtime Panthers Jake Delhomme, Jonathan Stewart and Jordan Gross, along with drop-ins from the likes of Julius Peppers and the recently retired Luke Kuechly. A suggestion from Stewart also led to a Zoom call from Warriors G Stephen Curry, a longtime Panthers fan. “That came from Stew,” Kiehn said. “He just said 'I’ll text Steph,' and there he was.”