Coming off a 2-14 season, you would assume the Panthers have a lot of team needs.
That’s true, but so are the words of G.M. Marty Hurney on PFT Live: This is not a team without talent. There are plenty of solid “core” young players on both sides of the ball. There are many teams out there with inferior rosters.
DT: Here’s a reason why some clued-in folks don’t quite believe yet the Panthers will take Cam Newton. Their need at defensive tackle is arguably greater than at quarterback, and Marcell Dareus is more of a sure thing than Newton. Carolina’s best tackles last year was probably Derek Landri, and he’s a free agent. Ugh.
QB: While the team doesn’t have a lot of gaping holes, their top two needs are desperate and they don’t have a second-round pick. Even grading on a curve, Jimmy Clausen’s first year was an epic disaster. Can he respond like Eli Manning? Or was his rookie year a sign of perpetual mediocrity to come like Alex Smith or Brady Quinn?
There is no veteran fallback option here, so the pressure to take Newton is higher.
CB: A position of strength has turned into a weakness. Chris Gamble isn’t worth his salary, while Richard Marshall seems likely to leave after struggling last year. Captain Munnerlyn would ideally be a nickel back, but he’s the best the team has right now. The team’s safeties are mediocre too.
DE: While the team has depth at end, their best player (Charles Johnson) could be leaving town for a rich free agent contract.
Overview: Future needs like guard and tight end may have to wait. But the Panthers are strong at tackle, center, running back, and linebacker. Their young wideouts are better than you think.
With the right additions and a semblance of a passing game, the Panthers could be competitive again quickly.