Friday night’s loss to the Dolphins made something abundantly clear: Carolina’s defensive line is awful. Carolina has been rotating a lot of bodies in at the defensive tackle position, but most of those bodies are young and inexperienced. Seeing that veteran nose-tackle, Ron Edwards is out for the season with a torn triceps muscle, it could mean that the middle of Carolina’s defensive line might be exploited by other teams until the young guns cut their teeth.
I was one of the Panther fans that wanted the team to by-pass Cam Newton and select Alabama defensive-tackle Marcell Dareus. To me, I felt that the defensive tackle position was the weakest position on the team, even over quarterback. I was pleased with the selections of Terrell McClain and Sione Fua in the 3rd round, but I question their ability to make an instant impact at the pro level. The Panthers eased some of my concerns when they signed the hefty Ron Edwards away from the Chiefs, but as mentioned before, Edwards will be a non-factor this year.
Carolina has to make a move to solidfy their defensive line and I believe the move they need to make is to trade for Detroit’s Corey Williams. Many may not realize it, but there were many rumors that had Williams being traded to the Panthers following the 2009 season, however, the Lions swooped in and acquired Williams from the Browns for a 5th round pick.
The Lions spent their 1st rounder on Auburn’s Nick Fairley in this year’s draft and have another promising young stud on the defensive-line (some kid named Suh?). It is true that Fairley has been hurt so far this pre-season but he isn’t expected to miss any major time. Williams is making good money and probably would not like to see his role on the team cut even though Fairley and Suh could benefit from his veteran presence.
So why would Detroit even consider trading Williams? Two words: Mike Goodson. The Lions need running-back depth following the loss of 2nd round selection Mikel Leshoure who will miss the entire 2011 season after he suffered a torn achilles injury. Now the Lions are left with second year man, Jahvid Best and not much else. Goodson would be a welcome addition for the Lions who would help provide a nice change of pace to Best.
In Williams, the Panthers would acquire a solid 31 year old veteran who measures 6’4 and 320 lbs. Though Williams has impressive size, he also has surprising athleticism as he played defensive end in Cleveland’s 3-4 system. Williams would instantly give the Panthers more credibility on the defensive line while also giving the young rookie tackles a veteran to learn from.
Friday’s game should have raised a call of urgency to the Panthers’ decision makers. Miami dominated the time of possession and there was not much the Panthers defense could do to get the Dolphin offense off the field. Marty Hurney should be working the phone-lines hard this weekend; and in my opinon, the first call he needs to make is to the Detroit area code.