Analyst tips new-look Carolina Panthers to make NFC South title bid

This would be a surprise.
Dan Morgan
Dan Morgan / Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Dan Morgan had many priorities during his first offseason as Carolina Panthers general manager. One quickly came to the fore above all else throughout a frantic few months for the organization.

The Panthers made a concerted effort to enhance their offensive options considerably. Morgan used almost every major resource - whether it be draft capital or financial means - to make each position group around quarterback Bryce Young stronger. This is something the respected front office leader managed to accomplish, on paper at least.

Whether it'll be enough for the Panthers to make legitimate strides is another matter. Not many in the media are anticipating head coach Dave Canales to spearhead a dramatic renaissance. At the same time, they could be a surprise the league doesn't see coming if everything clicks into place.

Carolina Panthers could challenge for the NFC South after offensive changes

This was a topic brought up by Garrett Podell from CBS Sports. The analyst hinted that Morgan's vast alterations coupled with Canales' presence might provide the Panthers with a shocking route into NFC South title contention next season. That would be a dream come true for fans who've been through severe turmoil in recent seasons.

"General manager Dan Morgan additionally traded away cornerback Donte Jackson and a sixth-round pick to the Pittsburgh Steelers to bring back wide receiver Diontae Johnson and a seventh-round pick to add another steady veteran presence for [Bryce] Young to throw to. Morgan then proceeded to utilize three of Carolina's first four picks in the 2024 NFL Draft on offensive playmakers: South Carolina wide receiver Xavier Legette (32nd overall), Texas running back Jonathon Brooks (46th overall) and Texas tight end Ja'Tavion Sanders (101st overall). Those resources that were given to the offense, plus hiring Dave Canales could position Young and Carolina to take a massive step forward in 2024 and threaten for the division title."

Garrett Podell, CBS Sports

So many new faces take time to become a cohesive unit. Morgan did a nice job of finding the right blend of youth and experience in pursuit of keeping complications to a minimum. It's a risk, but one that was necessary to give the former Alabama star a fighting chance of becoming the signal-caller many envisaged when the Panthers traded up to take him at No. 1 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft.

If it takes a little longer to contend, so what? Winning the NFC South is beyond expectations at this stage of another substantial rebuild with Morgan leading the charge. The most important thing from Canales' standpoint is getting more competitive and proving this organization is on the right path at long last.

Anything after that is a bonus, in all honesty. This was always going to be a long-term project. Going from worst to first isn't entirely out of the question, but it does seem like a long shot.

Once the Panthers generate momentum and prove they are a fundamentally sound football team, ambitions can rise. If that happens sooner than anticipated, perhaps a shot at the division crown isn't out of the realm of possibility in 2024.

Stranger things have happened in the NFL that's for sure.