Darin Gantt ran across a post by Michael Lombardi with National Football Post in which he identifies the blue chip players by team. Gantt lists the six (6) blue-chip Panther players and the two almost blue players from the post and then adds the following:
Only New England and Minnesota had as many as the Panthers, with Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, San Diego, Philadelphia and Green Bay with five each. What does it mean? Maybe not much. But for all the freaking out locally, it's still a talent-laden roster.
Though I could argue with some names on the list and not on the list I think it does put in perspective that the Panthers have as many top notch (blue chip) players as any other team in the league. The list follows after the jump...
From the original post here's the list of players:
BLUE: RB, D. Williams; WR, S. Smith; OT, Gross; DE, Peppers; ILB, Beason; CB, Gamble.
ALMOST BLUE: OT, Otah; DT, D. Lewis.
I'm with Gantt in the only name I question is Damionne Lewis but its nice someone else thinks he's almost blue. Give me 6 sacks this season Lewis and I might agree. Gantt also suggests G Travelle Wharton should be on the Almost Blue list. No argument there from me. Additional Almost Blue players could be RB Jonathan Stewart and LB Thomas Davis. Question: Would you put DT Maake Kemoeatu on either of the lists. Notice too that 7 of the 8 are Carolina draft picks with Lewis being the only FA acquisition.
I shoud also point out the list for our NFC bretheren:
BLUE: RB, Turner; TE, Gonzalez; WR, R. White; DE, Abraham.
ALMOST BLUE: QB, Ryan.
That's a pretty short list for the team everyone is picking to win the NFC South. BTW, only 2 are Atlanta draft picks.
New Orleans (4):
BLUE: QB, Brees; ILB, Vilma.
ALMOST BLUE: WR, Colston; WR, Moore.
Tampa Bay (5):
BLUE: WR, Bryant; ILB, Ruud.
ALMOST BLUE: TE, Winslow; OT, Penn; S, T. Jackson.
I'm sorry but Antonio Bryant has had one good season after being mediocre for years. Honestly Winslow and Ruud are the only two I would consider for either list. Penn and Jackson are servicable but blue-chippers? Jackson may have some upside but Penn? On the other side I'm surprised not to see RB Derrick Ward at least as Almost Blue.
So the lists may be subjective regarding certain players but emphasizes very well that the Panthers have the most talented roster in teh NFC South and one o fthe top talented rosters in the NFL as a whole. Nice job Mr. Lombardi. Anyone diagree?