With the GM who hired him gone, it’s not a stretch to think that coach Ron Rivera’s job could be in danger. (US Presswire)

In April, the Carolina Panthers drafted kick returner Joe Adams in the fourth round. He was inactive Sunday after struggling to hold onto the ball early in the year.

They drafted a punter in the sixth round. Half of Brad Nortman’s punts on Sunday went for less than 40 yards, including a 29-yarder in the third quarter that set up Dallas’ go-ahead touchdown.

The lineman they drafted in the second round had a holding penalty and two false starts, and the safety they chose in the seventh round continued his streak of inactives.

Only three players from the 2011 draft were on the team’s active roster. Top pick Cam Newton admitted after the game that he was out of ideas on how to fix things. Third-rounder Sione Fua picked up a penalty after not getting off the field fast enough, and fifth-rounder Kealoha Pilares touched the ball twice, filling in for Joe Adams on kick returns.

From previous drafts, a total of four first-round picks played -- Jonathan  Stewart, DeAngelo Williams, Thomas Davis and Jordan Gross. Sherrod Martin was the only second-rounder in action.

One player from the 2008 draft started, and another saw action on defense, which was exactly the same output that Dallas got from the Panthers 2008 draft class on Sunday.

And on Monday morning, the clock ran out on Panthers GM Marty Hurney.

Hurney’s recent drafts have produced very little for the team, and the Panthers have also made questionable decisions spending money on contracts during his tenure.

They gave DeAngelo Williams a $43 million contract extension last year and fellow running back Jonathan Stewart a $36.5 million extension this year. That $80 million of running backs got the Panthers 39 yards on Sunday.  

Hurney’s latest coaching hire, Ron Rivera, went 6-10 last season with the NFL’s most exciting rookie in a generation, and Newton’s development has plateaued in year two.

On his way out, Hurney said, “I am responsible for everybody in coaching, the players, the scouts and everybody in football operations.” That statement means that there are several other seats in Charlotte that are heating up.  Here’s a look at who might be the next to go:

Don Gregory and Mark Koncz: Gregory has headed up college scouting for six years, and Koncz has handled the pro side for 18 years. It’s telling that the Panthers chose not to name an interim GM instead of having either of them step in immediately. It seems to be an indication that owner Jerry Richardson will look outside the organization for help.

Rivera: In addition the team’s lackluster performance on the field, Rivera’s influence on personnel decisions hasn't gone well. He brought in a steady stream of players from San Diego, where he worked before getting the Panthers job, none of whom have lived up to expectations. Rivera was also an outspoken advocate of Adams after drafting him earlier this year.

Rob Chudzinski: The move most likely seals the offensive coordinator’s fate. Chud would be swept out with Rivera if the new GM cleans house, and Rivera might have to sacrifice Chudzinski in order to save his own job.

The running backs: It’ll be tough to cut bait with both Stewart and Williams from a cap standpoint, but the new regime may choose to go with one of them.

For more up-to-the-minute news and analysis on the Carolina Panthers from blogger Shawn Krest, follow @CBSPanthers.