What personnel decisions should the Carolina Panthers regret with the team sitting with a 1-8 record at their 2023 midseason point?
Remember when the Carolina Panthers beamed about just dropping in a quarterback and taking off this season? Good times.
Instead, the Panthers are languishing among the NFL's bottom feeders once again. One win in nine and a complete embarrassment on Thursday Night Football at the Chicago Bears - who were missing quarterback Justin Fields - was the latest in a long list of failures throughout one of the worst seasons in franchise history.
There is still time to turn it around, no matter how unrealistic that might appear currently. The problems center around offensive inefficiency, countless injuries to key figures within the locker room, and suspect acquisitions made throughout the offseason not reaching even modest expectations.
With this in mind, here are three personnel decisions that the Panthers should already regret at the 2023 midseason point.
Carolina Panthers traded up to draft D.J. Johnson
I won't spend too much time on this because D.J. Johnson is a rookie and there are far bigger problems. But trading up for a player who could have been taken on Day 3 when there were far better prospects available looks like a grave error in judgment.
Johnson is older than most rookies, so time is of the essence. The edge rusher's seen more of the field in recent weeks but offers almost no pass-rushing prowess whatsoever with increased responsibilities - something that many analysts feared when the Panthers made their play for the former Oregon standout.
This was not a development project move given Johnson's age. He's 25 years old - so there better be rapid improvements if Carolina wants to get some bang for their buck.
Regardless, finding another capable edge presence should be among the team's top priorities next spring. This also includes paying Brian Burns the going rate considering how vital he is to Carolina's plans long-term.