So I actually wrote this fanpost as a comment on a Fanshot earlier, but I wanted to see what some of y'all thought about the holes on this team and how they can be fixed.
I examined the holes I see on this team and potential fixes for next year. Please comment and let me know where you stand and what you would like to see the panthers do.
WR #2 (w/ #1 potential) – I think David Gettis can be a great #2 receiver in this system when he comes back, but Steve Smith is not getting younger and we need to start thinking about his replacement. Justin Blackmon is one of the best WR prospects to come along in years, up there with A.J. Green and Calvin Johnson (obviously not in the same mold as either due to his smaller size). Aside from Blackmon, Michael Floyd has had an outstanding season, has speed, and tremendous size (6’4"). If we are looking to take a wideout in the 10-15 range of the draft, he would be a great choice.
OT – Jordan Gross has been very good this season, but he has shown his age at times, getting beat on speed rushes around the edge. Jeff Otah can’t stay healthy. Matt Kalil is one of the best tackle prospects to come along in years, and if he is on the board, I don’t think we’d hesitate to take him. Otah has the size and strength to come back and move inside to RG, and lets not forget that we are also getting Geoff Schwartz back who can play guard well and serviceable at tackle.
Corner – I love Captain Munnerlyn, I really do, but he is much more suited to play the nickel. He is simply not big or fast enough to be an every down corner IMO. Morris Claibourne and Dre Kirkpatrick are big time corner prospects (Claibourne is regarded as a better cover corner than Patrick Peterson when he came out last year, just not the same explosive return man)
WLB – Thomas Davis has been hurt each of the last three seasons, and 3 ACL surgeries are devastating no matter what anyone tells you. I believe the panthers will cut him, and perhaps bring him back at a much lower salary to see what he can do (there is no way they are going to ride his current contract where he will see an $8 million roster bonus in the spring). Zack Brown has tremendous athleticism and speed at the WLB. I know I get accused of being a Tar Heel homer on here, but Brown is the real deal.
DT – The DT position has been a weakness for 4 seasons now, and it’s getting really old. It all starts up front, and the fact that our DTs get blown off the ball so easily makes the rest of our defense look worse. We need a big guy who can eat blocks, and a guy who can actually get some penetration. Ron Edwards has experience playing the NT in a 3-4 set and I think can play the 1 technique. Sione Fua and Terrell McClain have been underwhelming, but as stated before, i think a full off-season will benefit them. Unfortunately, this draft does not have any top-end DTs like the last few have. Brandon Thompson, perhaps the highest rated DT doesn’t project to go early in the first. The rest are pretty underwhelming.
Safety - Charles Godfrey has been okay this season, but it seems we are locked onto him for the next 5 seasons. Sherrod Martin on the other hand I feel has regressed. I loved him when we drafted him, and he was specular in spot time his rookie season, but he has severely underwhelmed this year. I think we will give Sherrod one more year next season, but don’t be surprised if we take a safety somewhere in the middle rounds.
Don't forget though, the panthers can address some holes through FA signings, not only through the draft.
So, what do y'all think?
What hole should the panthers address in the first round next April?
Defensive Tackle (22 votes)
Linebacker (21 votes)
Cornerback (12 votes)
Safety (0 votes)
Wide Receiver (9 votes)
Offensive Line (11 votes)
75 total votes