Carolina Panthers: ESPN puts team in the bottom of latest Power Rankings

Carolina Panthers, D.J. Moore #12 (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Carolina Panthers, D.J. Moore #12 (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

With free agency and the 2020 NFL Draft officially in the books, ESPN just released its NFL Power Rankings, and unfortunately, the Carolina Panthers are at the bottom. It’s just the reality of the situation.

It’s hard to bounce back for a team that went 5-11 last season and had all sorts of problems across their roster, leadership, and overall culture. Such is the case with the Carolina Panthers as last season is one they’d like to forget. They used it as their primary reason to clean house this offseason of their coaching staff, underperforming players, and start rebuilding now for a winning culture later.

Since it’s way too early to tell just how all these big changes will pan out, for now, the Panthers did make some good decisions this offseason. They focused mostly on offense during free agency and went all-in on defense in the 2020 NFL Draft. On paper, these changes should produce slightly better results than 2019 but that doesn’t mean they’re going to magically become a playoff-contending team this upcoming season.

Reality says they’ll be some bumps on the road as they prepare for a regular season in a super competitive and improved NFC South. The division as a whole got significantly better as their rivals also made big moves to bolster their rosters.

Carolina Panthers land at No. 27 in latest ESPN NFL Power Rankings

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In ESPN’s latest NFL Power Rankings, they factored everything that has transpired so far this offseason and placed the Panthers at No. 27. In the grand scheme of things, it’s easy to see why the Panthers will more than likely be on the outside looking in.

All these changes they’ve made simply added more question marks to the puzzle. Will Teddy Bridgewater live up to expectations? Can Derrick Brown be the next dominating captain on defense? Will Christian McCaffrey continue his momentum in 2020 after getting a well-deserved contract extension?

There are many more questions left to answer, including if new head coach Matt Rhule can indeed be “the guy” to bring the Panthers back to their winning ways over the next few years. For now, ESPN’s NFL Power Rankings are spot on since it’ll likely take the Panthers at least another year or two before everything comes together to field a winning product.

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By the looks of it and a commitment to turn this franchise around, reality says the Panthers will be back in the competitive mix by 2021 or 2022 at the latest. 2020 will more than likely bring another losing season as they’ll be lucky to end the season with six or seven wins at best. Of course, that’s the beauty of football as anything can happen during the course of a regular season but for now, all signs point that the Panthers will continue struggling in 2020.