The Panthers announced they have re-signed veteran defensive tackle Colin Cole to a 1-year contract. This was an outstanding move by Gettleman, as Cole is one of the better run stoppers on the team and adds depth to the DT rotation. With Cole’s return, the Panthers now have all of their key pieces from last season’s front seven returning for 2014. The defense was the driving force for the team’s success and keeping it an elite unit, will allow the Panthers to stay competitive in the NFC South.
This unit ranked 2nd in rush yards allowed and 6th in pass yards allowed in 2013. They were 2nd overall in yards and points allowed, only trailing Seattle’s historic defense last season. This unit should only get better with the development of Defensive Player of the Year Luke Kuechly and star in the making Star Lotulelei. Linebacker A.J. Klein showed promise last season and may push out Chase Blackburn for the starting spot. Throw in the fact that Thomas Davis is coming off his best season ever as a pro and this unit will be fierce in 2014. Be sure to grab them in your fantasy league if you have the opportunity.
The Panthers will likely draft a cornerback in this year’s deep class. Stanley Jean-Baptiste is a late round talent that I have been harping on for awhile now. He is 6’3″ with a 40 inch vertical and excellent ball skills. It’ll be up to the Panthers to rebuild the offense so that the defense is not always on the field. Carolina excelled last year because they controlled time of possession and allowed their defense to stay rested, while the offense methodically drove the field. This defensive unit will be a top 5 defense regardless of who is playing in the secondary. Not to mention the Kraken will be angry he did not reach his 50 sack goal from last season.
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