Panthers news: Carolina up to 29th in NFL Power Rankings

Dean Jones
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - DECEMBER 30: Teddy Bridgewater #5 of the New Orleans Saints walks off the field after defeating the Carolina Panthers during the first half at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 30, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - DECEMBER 30: Teddy Bridgewater #5 of the New Orleans Saints walks off the field after defeating the Carolina Panthers during the first half at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on December 30, 2018 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /
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One NFL analyst doesn’t give the Carolina Panthers much chance of making an impact in 2020 despite a successful draft.

A strong NFL Draft from the Carolina Panthers has not done much for their place in the latest power rankings table.

The organization did move up one position in Dan Hanzus of NFL.com’s latest standings following the draft. But the Panthers still find themselves in 29th position out of 32 teams.

Speaking on his decision to move up the Panthers just one spot after making NFL history by using all selections on the defensive side of the ball, Hanuz had this to say on the team’s offseason.

"It’s been a busy offseason for the Panthers. Matt Rhule was hired, Cam Newton was fired and Christian McCaffrey got paid. Teddy Bridgewater is the new QB in town, and Rhule made a statement in the draft by using all seven of his selections on defensive players. The 2020 Panthers became just the second team to make at least seven picks and use all of them on one side of the ball. (The 1985 Browns did the same thing with seven offensive picks.) Carolina used the seventh overall selection on Derrick Brown, a wickedly talented defensive tackle who should be an ideal partner for Kawann Short in the center of the defensive front. Defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos (38th overall) and safety Jeremy Chinn (64th) could earn immediate starting jobs. The Panthers have a lot of work to do — this offseason was just the start."

While the Panthers are not expected to mount a serious NFC South challenge during a period of transition under new head coach Matt Rhule. There is some hope that their defense can show enough improvements to at least be respectable if some of their college recruits can make an instant impact.

Much will also depend on the way quarterback Teddy Bridgewater is able to perform well after signing a three-year, $63 million deal to prize him away from the New Orleans Saints. This included a $15 million signing bonus and $33 million guaranteed, so the former Minnesota Viking is going to have huge pressure on his shoulders heading into 2020.

He does have some significant weapons at his disposal in the form of D.J. Moore, All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey, and free-agent arrival Robby Anderson. The Panthers also avoided the temptation of trading Curtis Samuel during the draft, so he is another that could feature heavily.

Their backs will be up against the wall with so many fresh faces in Carolina next season. This gelling process has not been aided by the lack of face-to-face time due to the social distancing measure implemented by the government surrounding the coronavirus pandemic.

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They will need to get on the same page quickly. If the Panthers can somehow do this, they could make the list look foolish once the season has concluded next year.

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