Power rankings unmoved by encouraging Carolina Panthers' offseason

It seems as if there is still some hard work ahead fo the Carolina Panthers.
Dan Morgan
Dan Morgan / Jacob Kupferman/GettyImages

Even though the Carolina Panthers have implemented widespread changes across the franchise throughout another eventful offseason, there is still a narrative to shift. The team descended into the league's laughingstock last season, which became a microcosm of how things have unfolded under David Tepper's ownership. They are at rock bottom with nowhere to go but up.

There seems to be a different feel around the building right now. Dan Morgan and Brandt Tilis moved swiftly to install a sense of professionalism in the front office where once there was nothing but chaos. Head coach Dave Canales is enthusiastic beyond measure and has everyone on the same page with one common goal in mind.

Nobody is getting carried away, but there is hope things are trending in the right direction. Providing optimism to a disillusioned fanbase is one thing, getting the NFL to look at the Panthers differently is another matter.

Carolina Panthers remain at No. 32 in ESPN's power rankings

This was reflected in ESPN's post-draft power rankings. The Panthers remain at No. 32 despite an encouraging offseason, but beat reporter David Newton highlighted the offensive line as a position group that could improve significantly if the new faces mesh quickly and Austin Corbett's transition to the center position pays off.

"This easily could have been wide receiver with the additions of Diontae Johnson and first-round pick Xavier Legette, but quarterback Bryce Young was sacked a team-record 62 times so giving him time to find his receivers was the first priority. GM Dan Morgan did that by signing free agent guards Robert Hunt and Damien Lewis and shifting guard Austin Corbett to center. Inside pressure resulted in 35 of Young's sacks and hindered his ability to effectively run the offense."

Nobody expects the Panthers to mount any sort of Super Bowl challenge in 2024. They were comfortably the league's worst team last season and face a long road back to prosperity. Canales believes it might come sooner than expected. Morgan is taking a more cautious approach with the long-term in mind.

Being competitive in every game and fundamentally sound are good places to start. Canales believes everything else should fall into place if they get these things right. Molding a scheme around Bryce Young's strengths and firmly establishing a rushing attack will also go a long way to achieving these feats.

Fans are taking a cautious approach. They've been impressed by the way this new regime has gone about its business. At the same time, they've been fooled by offseason acquisitions and raised expectations before. Until the Panthers put out a better football product and reinstall some pride, skepticism will remain.

Canales won't be short of bulletin board material heading into his first season at the helm. He's heard all the chatter about Carolina's status in league circles and will no doubt be keeping receipts. But all the ridicule coming the Panthers' way is entirely justified until proven otherwise.

The Panthers have been pushing up the NFL power rankings across the regional and national media for months. While this shouldn't come as a shock, it's beyond time this team started fighting back in the face of adversity.