During the offseason, I was amazed to read the intensely negative comments about McCloughan. There certainly have been draft failures, but the draft is a crapshoot. Apparently, less than 50% of 1st rounders ever become starters for their team (http://bleacherreport.com/articles/74206-what-are-an-nfl-first-round-picks-odds-for-success).
McCloughan/Nolan inherited an extremely weak team and continously upgraded the roster over the last years. I think that the drafts will eventually be considered at least moderately successful and the top-end free agent pick-ups have plugged some big holes and were worth the high price (Clements, J. Smith). Except for the O-line, the team depth is now impressive.
McCloughan is now looking good by getting Carolina's 1st rounder next year. The few remaining holes on the team can easily be plugged in next year's supposedly talent-rich draft. I loved the trade when it happened. It showed commitment to their mission and great patience. They didn't like any of the players still on the board for a second rounder and were able to plan for the future. Even if Carolina turns their season around and ends up 9-7, I still think the trade was smart.
While the Crabtree holdout was certainly unfortunate, is McCloughan to blame? Can a GM really predict a college star's behavior, who has a ruthless agent? Knowing the agent is Parker, do you avoid Crabtree at number 10 with the team needing a WR playmaker?
Has McCloughan amassed talent in a responsible, consistent manner, or is Singletary making magic out of nothing? Maybe this is evidence that it takes the entire organization to create a winner?