Panther Paw Prints: Saturday Edition

This edition of Paw Prints starts with some concern with a prospect many consider the #2 WR prospect in the draft.

Five prospects who aren’t worth the love | National Football Post
Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame There’s no denying that Golden Tate has the compact build and overall balance/burst to be effective with the football after the catch. The guy runs like a former running back –which he was in high school -- and loves to fight and scratch his way for additional yards. However, I simply don’t think he has the size, quickness off the line or overall fluidity as a route runner to beat press and separate on the outside as a legit starting threat. Tate isn’t shifty trying to avoid press, is stiff as a route runner when asked to change directions and overall isn’t a natural catcher. I think his skill set makes him ideally suited to play a slot guy at the next level, but in no way do I think he’s dynamic enough to warrant a first-round pick. Do I think there’s a place for him in the NFL? Yes, but I see him more as a Mark Clayton (Ravens) type than as Steve Smith (Panthers).

I'm always leery of guys that jump up the draft boards simply from the combine. Tate sure looks like the next Steve Smith stature-wise. He's got the speed. But does he has...IT! I'm just not sure who to believe on that.

Everette 'Beefcake' Brown is simply fanning the flames of the 'Freeney Comparison' with this:

Darin Gantt's Panthers Blog | The Herald - Rock Hill, SC
When Brown arrived last year he looked, well, normal. Athletic, yes. But not like you'd think an NFL defensive lineman is supposed to look. Now he's added 10 pounds and he's going to have to find a tailor to let his jackets out, since it appears most of it is in his upper half. At 6-1, 260, he looks more like Dwight Freeney than Robert Mathis now, but said he doesn't think he's sacrificed speed for strength.

I'm cautiously optimistic Brown is going to have a good season. Will he make us forget Pep? I doubt it...except that Pep did leave a bad taste in the mouth for the manner in which he left. I'm thinking Brown puts up 8 sacks this year (I'm in the total random prediction mood)...If there is one word for our current DL as a whole  its 'potential'. If the next Kris Jenkins happens to be there at 48 though...

I'm almost positive the Panthers use one of their five late round picks on a o-lineman. In particular a G/C combo player. Here's a good candidate:

Carolina Panthers might need middle man - CharlotteObserver.com
Larsen (6-2 5/8, 304 pounds) is said to be rising up draft boards. He's an intense, highly intelligent player who redshirted his first season and completed requirements for graduation before his senior year. Of the more than 300 prospects invited to the NFL scouting combine in February, Larsen reportedly tied for the 11th best score on the Wonderlic test, which measures intelligence and problem-solving skills, with a score of 33 (out of 50).

Panthers RFA actions was minimal this season, several have signed and only three remain to sign: CB Richard Marshall and these two:

Darin Gantt's Panthers Blog | The Herald - Rock Hill, SC
LB Thomas Davis and CB C.J. Wilson are the other two RFAs who were tendered, but both have been around the stadium working out.

It's obvious the Panthers didn't blame the Panthers poor Special Teams solely on former ST Coach Danny Crossman. The continued signing of experienced STer's proves the Panthers relied too much on their ability to teach players ST roles. The new approach is sign guys who not only except the role of excel at it. Imagine the Panthers with a top 15 ST performance in 2010...whole new experience isn't it?

Panthers claim CB/KR Witherspoon
Witherspoon, 24, began the 2009 campaign with Jacksonville and averaged 23.7 yards on 24 kickoff returns and 11.1 yards on seven punt returns in seven games before being waived on December 14. After being claimed by Detroit, he saw action in one game, returning four kickoffs for 72 yards and two punts for 10 yards.

This one is about a month old but not sure how I missed it but it points out something we discussed recently:

Carolina Panthers Forum - Carolina Panthers Message Board

How will those changes effect open competition this year? There will probably be more open competition this year with the guys being cut or released. There will be huge competition at the strong side linebacker with Nai’l Diggs being released, between James Anderson and Dan Connor. The d-line is wide open. Plus you have Sherrod Martin and Charles Godfrey both looking to start at free safety.

So is Martin officially moved to S versus CB? Maybe I missed it but that's big news to me. I like it, it can only make us better. But I also wonder if Martin could be a good outside CB. He has the size and ability.

Let's close with something I'm sure plenty of people will discuss but it's a non-issue in my view:

Observations from the 50-yard Line: Cowher still interested in coaching
Q: What kind of place does N.C. State have in your heart? A: Well, it’s a very special place. Obviously I met my wife here. We both went to school here. We both played sports here. And we decided to come back and make it our home. Regardless of whatever happens with my coaching future, Raleigh will always be my home. That I can say for a fact.

I'm okay with Furney for now.

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