Dan Parr at profootballweekly. com wtites today that "Tight end (is) still a need for (the) Panthers", but doesn't really address how to get it. here's the link:
Parr points out what we all know that Jeremy Shockey is aging, and missed 12 games in the last 4 years, while Gary Barnidge only has 12 career catches (all in 2009), with them both being the only Panthers TE's under contract for 2011. He adds that the Panthers aren't excited to re-sign Jeff King (mostly a blocker), or a little more surprisingly Dante Rosiaro who is more of a receiver (32 catches in 2010) than a blocker, like Barnidge. However, Parr offers no suggestions for how the Panthers should address this need, so here are mine.
The only 2 free agent TE's that might be an improvement over re-signing Dante Rosario, Raiders TE Zach Miller (too expensive, but worth it), and the Giants Kevin Boss (who's probably overpriced for his talent). The Panthers could re-sign Rosario, and just wait till next year to draft a TE, but the draft class at this time doesn't offer much speed at the position (mostly in the mid 4.7's). The other option is to sign 1 or 2 UDFA TE's, and here is a list of some of the best available.
Andre Smith (6-4, 270, 4.80-40) of Virginia Tech, he's a perfect replacement for Jeff King, a great blocker (like having an extra OT), but not a great receiver (only 21 catches as a senior, his best season).
Weslye Saunders (6-5, 270, 35 5/8 inch arms, 4.96-40) of South Carolina, he hasn't played since 2009 (32 catches), wasn't fully recovered from an injury when he ran his 40 (he was expected to run around a 4.8 when healthy), and is a somewhat indriffent blocker. He was thought to be a 2nd or 3rd round pick before he was bannend by the NCAA last season. With his spring injury, he might be able to go on IR in 2011 (sort of playing catch up), or start the season on the PUP list.
Collin Franklin (6-6, 256, 4.69-40) of Iowa St., he improved to 54 catches, for a 9.8 yard average as a senior. A unnamed scout said this about Franklin, "reliable hands and good body control. He does a nice job up the seams and fights for yards after the catch. He's a high-charcter guy ... a straightline runner... plays with a high pad level and doesn't contribute much as a blocker."
Schuylar Oordt (6-5 3/4, 261, 4.67-40, 1.59-10) of Northern Iowa, he's not a blocker, and had problems catching the ball at the Combine.
Zach Pianalto (6-3 1/4, 256, 4.87-40, 1.65-10) of UNC, an OK blocker, he cought 33 passes in 2009, and 30 in 2010 though he broke his leg in the 6th game, missing the reast of the season.