Carolina Panthers: How much rebuilding is left to do?

(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) Teddy Bridgewater
(Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) Teddy Bridgewater /
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D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) D.J Moore, Carolina Panthers /

Offense and defense hopes for the future

The 12 wide receivers on the Carolina Panthers roster have an average age of twenty-five. Matt Rhule’s direction dictates that this could be even lower when the final decisions regarding spots are set to cut the group down to six. But this is another wait and see situation during a pivotal offseason for the franchise.

As for the offensive line, the Panthers are well aware of the need for depth which might explain why there are nine tackles currently on the roster. They know who their starting guys will be. But the developmental players will be the ones to watch during the season. A tackle who plays both sides, as well as guard, will be invaluable to the team moving forward.

Between the tight ends and running backs, there is nothing but pure upside. Both position groups have had enough time to grow behind All-Pro Christian McCaffrey and the recently departed Greg Olsen. Now with Jordan Scarlett and Reggie Bonnafon fighting for the RB2 spot, together with a mixture of young and veteran tight ends also looking to fill places on the team, these will be the team’s stiffest roster spot battles.

As expected, the Panthers drafted a monster defensive tackle with their first-round pick. Derrick Brown also happens to be quite the charismatic figure, so while he might not make the fanbase completely forget about legendary linebacker Luke Kuechly, he brings enormous hope for the future.

Kuechly admitted in a recent zoom call that defensive tackles closing down running lanes help make a linebacker’s job easier. With the run defense on lockdown, the Panthers will force more passing attempts which could make things difficult for Carolina’s inexperienced secondary.

The Panthers put a lot of emphasis on acquiring pass rushers and speedy secondary prospects in the last two drafts, and this will be further aided by a return to the 4-3 defensive base. The standard must be highest for defensive ends considering that the team added a defensive end after the draft despite already having Brian Burns and Yetur Gross-Matos lined up for the starting positions.

The NFC South’s passing competition gets better every year, and now with Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, it’s as competitive as ever. The defensive backs will face the fiercest competition in the league. But Phil Snow and Evan Cooper can make successful pros out of the rookies. The team’s success depends on it.

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The linebackers have plenty of work to do themselves. Every veteran in the linebacker room will need to show out since there will be five undrafted free agents gunning for their jobs. Eventually the “Rhule direction” will run its course. But there will be enough fast and physical linebackers ready for their turn when it does.