The Carolina Panthers did a fine job in the NFL Draft in the last three days. They really addressed needs and some good added depth. Now that the draft is over, the one thing that the Panthers will be looking at now is how the new players are going to fit.
Luke Kuechly is a phenomenal player with outstanding abilities. He has a very smart football IQ and can defend the run and pass very well. There was a little skepticism of why the Panthers didn’t address the D-Line first, but this was a great pick. The Panthers felt that the top prospects for the D-Line weren’t a safe yet dominating pick for the number nine spot.
Kuechly can play both inside and outside linebacker. He will probably move to outside and Jon Beason will stay inside, with Anderson opposite of Kuechly.
You can look for Thomas Davis to not get as much playing time as normal. It seems the more he plays the more he gets hurt, so with him getting most of his reps spread out, he will be utilized more.
Earlier this week I said that head coach Ron Rivera will probably make a transition to a 3-4 like he tested with last year. This may not be entirely true anymore, but it can still be an option. Panthers GM Marty Hurney and Rivera discussed that the main scheme will not change dramatically. If anything, you can look for the 3-4 occurring more toward the end of the season.
In the second round, the Panthers selected Amini Silatolu. He played tackle in college but will more than likely be placed at guard in the NFL. The 6′ 4″, 311 pound monster will be a huge improvement for the O-Line. I don’t think though that he will be an immediate starter.
With Hangartener, Pollak, and Bell at guard, I think Silatolu will become more progressed as the season goes on and will probably become a starter.
Carolina finally got their pass rusher in the fourth round. A pick that was traded to Carolina from San Francisco, the Panthers selected DE Frank Alexander. Alexander will be fighting for a backup spot with Greg Hardy and Eric Norwood. I can’t see him passing Applewhite just yet, but rookies always look for the starting job.
With Charles Johnson on the other side, Carolina now has a good rotation of DE to help him put pressure on the QB’s. But why not defensive tackle? Carolina feels really good with Ron Edwards coming back and are hopeful that Fua and McClain get better their sophomore seasons.
With the very next pick in the fourth round, Carolina got a good receiver and even better punt returner in Joe Adams. He has had some problems earlier in his career with a minor stroke, but has since become a dominate player for Arkansas.
He will more than likely back up Gettis or LaFell at receiver or play the slot, and replace Armanti Edwards at punt return.
Round five is where I feel Carolina got a steel. The Panthers selected corner back Josh Norman from Coastal Carolina. I watched game film on him before the draft and thought he was a well played corner that went up for the ball very well.
He also can fly from sideline to sideline to make tackles, which will help the defense nicely. His is a little bit older however at 26 years old, but will give a great challenge for Captain Munnerlyn’s starting position.
Carolina finally has a punter on the roster now after picking Brad Nortman in the sixth round. After cutting Jason Baker, the Panthers had no punter on the team. Nortman is very good at punting and he is also the first punter that the Panthers have drafted in team history.
With their final pick in the draft during round 7, the Panthers picked up free safety DJ Campbell. The odds may be against him for playing at safety behind Martin, Godfrey, Nakamura, and Smith. He will more than likely start off on special teams and be a good contributor there.
In other news than the NFL Draft, the Panthers signed undrafted rookie Wes Kemp, a wide receiver from Missouri. He is 6′ 4″ and 220 pounds. In college, he had a career six touchdowns a 883 yards on 63 catches. The Panthers now have good depth at the receiver postion
Topics: Amini Silatolu, Brad Nortman, Brandon LaFell, Carolina Panthers, Davis Gettis, DJ Campbell, Frank Alexander, Joe Adams, Jon Beason, Josh Norman, Luke Kuechly, Marty Hurney, NFL Draft, Ron Rivera, Thomas Davis, Wes Kemp