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Team Needs: Carolina Panthers

Jimmy Clausen AP

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.

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15 Responses to “Team Needs: Carolina Panthers”
  1. thereisalwaysnextyear says: Apr 12, 2011 6:24 PM

    The Panthers would be a lot better off trading for a semi-proven QB like Kolb and trading out of the first pick for multiple picks(one of which they could use for Kolb and the rest for defense and line)

  2. waitingguilty says: Apr 12, 2011 6:28 PM

    I could have saved you some typing. The article should just say:

    The Panther actually have more needs than the Redskins.

    End of article.

  3. hobartbaker says: Apr 12, 2011 6:33 PM

    Does anyone believe that Newton would be better than Clausen in Carolina next season? Jimmy carried about the same draft rating a year ago as Newton does now. Plus he comes out of a pro style system and has had a year to adjust. It’s just a big smoke screen. Quarterback is the only position another team is going to try to trade up for, so the Panthers are milking the need.

  4. beckzhere says: Apr 12, 2011 6:40 PM

    Haha, “the Panthers could be competitive again quickly.” Seriously?

  5. jjrs89 says: Apr 12, 2011 6:47 PM

    Scam Newton!

  6. riderspantherssk says: Apr 12, 2011 7:34 PM

    The Panthers were 12-4 and NFC favorites in the playoffs 2 years ago until Delhomme suddenly lost his mind. There are some very good, young players on their roster in addition to a number of players who were there in 2008. They needed free agency badly this year to pick up at least a journeyman QB before the draft so that a QB wouldn’t be so tempting at #1 and they could focus on the D line.

  7. thehighhat says: Apr 12, 2011 7:38 PM

    “There are many teams out there with inferior rosters.”

    Thats funny!

  8. thefiesty1 says: Apr 12, 2011 8:33 PM

    Everything! Taking Newton #1 is not the answer. Trade down and get a bunch of high picks.

  9. madenatewell says: Apr 12, 2011 8:56 PM

    As a panthers fan, there were a lot of things I saw last year that make me hopeful. When John Fox knew his time was up, the team was then poorly coached. Clausen, in my eyes, can do it he just needs a veteran to show him how…I.E. Jake delhomme showed Matt Moore in ’09.

    Defensively this team was just tired the whole game…the offense never sustained drives leading to the defense being on the field a ton…tell me that with people like James Anderson, Thomas Davis Back that this defense will be worse, you’ll be wrong. Provided people stay healthy.

    I want them to choose Cam Newton. Only because it’s worth the risk at this point. Decent DT’s are available…add a vet qb like Hasselbeck or McNabb, keep the core people who have already expressed intrest in staying..Carolina could be a playoff team by 2013.

  10. FinFan68 says: Apr 12, 2011 9:12 PM

    Taking Cam is not a smart move. Not a knock against Newton but a quality DT can have a huge impact (ask detroit) Give Claussen a chance. Get a DT, shore up the o-line and find a couple receiving threats if the young guys already on the roster are questionable.

  11. thompgk says: Apr 12, 2011 9:33 PM

    How come seemingly smart people are calling Dareus a “sure thing” and “low risk”?

  12. Canyonero says: Apr 12, 2011 11:09 PM

    New coach, top draft pick, let’s face it very low expectations from the fan base for now.. this team could go in a completely new direction.

  13. rabidbillsfan says: Apr 12, 2011 11:12 PM

    @Madenatewell

    Dude, you just “jimmy clausen’d” jimmy clausen… watch out for that………. Bus.

  14. CKL says: Apr 12, 2011 11:52 PM

    I didn’t think their safeties were that bad myself and safety isn’t a deep position in the draft from what I understand. Maybe they could “steal”a guy like Aaron Williams who could possibly play CB and safety if needed. I’m not a big aficionado of Gamble myself either and feel they need an elite CB first and foremost if they are looking to improve the back end.

    Their defense actually was pretty good considering the injuries they dealt with and the amount of pressure put on them by a mediocre offense. Meeks helped improve them greatly in 09-10.

  15. ffhd1clt says: Apr 15, 2011 11:14 PM

    We need a veteran QB who can mentor what we have, and can play NOW. We brought in Testeverde to do this, for example. Why do people think we need ANOTHER rookie QB? Do we keep doing it until we get it right? None of us know how Newton will do in the NFL, and even if he does well, it isn’t likely to be right away. We may have our QB of the future now, but he needs time to grow and mature, as would Newton or anyone else who joins the league in their first year or 2 or 3. Hell, another example in Charlotte is Kerry Collins. Unfortunately, we got him while he was young, but he ended up being quite a good QB in the NFL. Am I the only person who feels this way? All I hear about is Luck, or Cam, or whatever around here. We had TWO rookie QB’s on the team last year, why do we need another player who is UNPROVEN in the NFL? Now I’ll close with something that will keep me from getting any thumbs up, at least any from the Charlotte area. This is a mute point now anyway, but if I were the decision maker of this team, I would have done everything I could to get Michael Vick on this team. That would have been, by far, the most exciting thing to ever happen to the Charlotte sports scene. The naysayers in town would be the first at the stadium…

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