Panthers: Even after draft, uncertainty looms at running back
The Carolina Panthers have talented running backs. However, lack of depth could make life at the position difficult…
Overall, I am very pleased with how the Carolina Panthers drafted over the weekend. However, one thing I noticed was their lack of drafting a running back, a choice that may come back to bite them once the season begins.
Yes, I know they have several running backs on their roster in Christian McCaffrey, Cameron Artis-Payne, and Fozzy Whittaker. There is no doubt that there is talent there. The problem is, there is a lot of unproven talent at the position. McCaffrey had a successful rookie campaign, but there is always the chance he could suffer a sophomore slump (although hopefully that is not the case).
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Both Artis-Payne and Whittaker have never gotten concrete chances to show what they are capable of. However, even with the increased opportunities that Artis-Payne in particular may get, you cannot rely on him to be a definitively productive backup running back. Last year, the two backs combined for 25 carries for 113 yards and a touchdown. Those are not exactly numbers that make me feel confident that either of them can be a dependable No. 2 back.
There was an interesting development on Sunday as the Carolina Panthers signed Louisville athlete Reggie Bonnafon to an undrafted free agent contract. Per a report from Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer, Bonnafon fits at the running back position according to the team.
Even with the signing of Bonnafon, the Carolina Panthers should have drafted a legitimate college football running back. They need depth they can count on at the position. Yes, even the veterans at the position aren’t a guarantee. However, I would have liked to have seen the team get a back with ample college experience solely at the position through the draft.
With the uncertainty of how the trio will perform and the fact that Bonnafon is essentially a wildcard in terms of what he can truly bring to the offense (never mind whether he will fit into the offense at all) , there are some big question marks at the position.
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But what do I know? Maybe the Panthers are truly set at the position and I am just worrying over nothing. Hopefully, they prove me wrong.