This offseason is a very pivotal one for the Carolina Panthers. They are coming off a 6-10 season that saw them play extremely competitively. With Cam Newton looking like a franchise quarterback there is going to be a lot of pressure on the Panthers to make the playoffs next year. And I think this year’s offseason could make or break the Panthers playoff hopes.
They really need to use the draft and free agency to make this a complete team. The Panthers definitely need help on the defensive side of the ball, and they could get two defensive starters out of their first two draft picks if they pick them correctly. Carolina has three main needs: D-Line, Cornerback, and Linebacker. Since the Panthers don’t have a third round pick it’ll be hard for them get a starter for all three of these positions from the draft alone. That’s where free agency comes into play.
I believe the Panthers should try to take Michael Brockers (DT, LSU) in the first round, then maybe Alfonzo Denard or Janoris Jenkins will follow to us in the second round and we can take them. With that fourth round pick we should pick up a linebacker to possibly be Thomas Davis’ replacement for the future. However, I believe Davis’s immediate replacement should come from free agency. They need to go get a veteran linebacker who can be productive. Some of the free agent linebackers that come to mind are Curtis Loften, Anthony Spencer, and London Fletcher. All three of these guys could give you great production, and immediately make the defense better. This is what I would like to see the week 1 defensive roster look like:
LE- Charles Johnson, DT- Michael Brockers, DT- Ron Edwards, RE- Greg Hardy
SLB- James Anderson, MLB- Jon Beason, WLB- London Fletcher
CB- Chris Gamble, CB- Alfonzo Denard, SS- Charles Godfrey, FS- Sherrod Martin (it would be great if they could find an upgrade at this position, but you can’t always fulfill all your needs in just one offseason; maybe look into a free agent Free Safety as well)
Now with just the addition of a couple guys it looks like a complete 180 from last year, from a talent standpoint anyways. This looks like a group that could be one of the dominant defenses like Carolina had in 2003 when they made their super bowl run. It’ll be interesting to see how the Panthers handle this offseason, but they need to be aggressive and bring in some guys to make this a complete team. It should be an exciting season come September, as the Panthers gear up for a playoff run.