The Panthers have the nineteenth selection in the 2013 NFL Draft. The Cats need a DT, WR, and S.
When it comes to their selection, the Panthers choose Kawann Short, DT from Purdue.
(And no, it is not to early to start thinking about the 2013 NFL draft. Matter of fact, I can't wait.)
While the Panthers offense was dangerous in 2011, it became potent in 2012. With the addition of Tolbert & Silatolu, along with the return of Jeff Otah, the Panthers running game because THE very best in the NFL. DeAngello Williams and Jonathan Stewart combined for nearly 2000 yards, while Tolbert amassed an impressive amount and Cam ran all over the field. The passing game benefited greatly, and Cam continued improving. Steve Smith had another dynamite season and Brandon LaFell had a breakout year, amassing over 800 yards and cementing himself as the Panthers 'Z' WR that they've been seaching for since Moose left. Greg Olsen also had a good year, and was a red zone terror. Overall, the Panthers offense became one of the Top 10 in the NFL, thanks to the now seriously dominant run game.
On the other side of the ball, the Panthers defense improved in 2012. However, the Panthers still retained many liabilities. The pass rush improved with Hardy's continued development. Applewhite, Keiser, and Alexander also formed a very good rotation. The interior of the defensive line made marginal improvements in stopping the run, and was still inadequate in producing any kind of pass rush again. The linebacking corps formed one of the best in the NFL. Beason returned to his former glory, and James Anderson accompanied him well on the strongside. Thomas Davis began the season as the starting weakside linebacker, but because of injury was forced to once-and-for-all retire. Although he was a talent, like Dan Morgan, his body just couldn't take it. Luke Kuechly stepped into his shoes, and perfomed aptly for a rookie WLB, justifying his selection in the 2012 draft. The defensive secondary was decent, but was picked on heavily throughout the year. Gamble was very good, to my surprise Hogan actually won over the other starting job. Munnerlyn stepped in to his natural role as a nickel/dime CB. Godfrey was good, however Sherrod Martin once again had a very lackluster season. Overall, the defense improved, however it still had it's own weaknesses as opposing QBs were able to pick apart the D.
In the kicking game, the Panthers made a drastic improvement. With the free agent and draft additions, the special teams coverage was much improved. Nortman was a decent punter, of course Mare missed a few, and Adams and Pilares took the return games to the next level. While it may not seem like that much of an impact, the Panthers special teams improved greatly and became an advantage that didn't really cost any games.
Now, while the Panthers improved in 2012, the NFC South was extremely competitive. The Bucs offseason and draft moves along with their organizational change led them to the crown of the NFC South. In this way, the Bucs vault to the top mirrored the 49es of last year. The Falcons did little to improve, and battled out the Panthers for the wildcard spot. The Panthers thus improved to 9-7, but narrowly missed out on the playoffs, mostly because the defense was too much of a liability. While the Saints still were good, the turmoil in the offseason proved too much to overcome. All of the off the field distractions trickled down the organization, poisoning it from within.
Today, April 25th, 2013th, the Panthers picked nineteenth. Coming into this draft, they need a 3 Tech, WR, and S. At NT, Edwards/Kearse/Shirley/Fua proved decent, however McClain and Neblett couldn't muster any pass rush and was a weakness in the run game. At WR, the Panthes are searching for the answer to Steve Smith's eventual retirement. And at S, they need someone to replace Sherrod Martin who, like McClain, is a liability.
The Panthers just picked, and they selected Kawann Short, a defensive tackle from Purdue. Short is a very stout run defender whose leverage, strength, and agility allow him to hold the point, push the line back, and rush the passer. He fills the void that the Panthers have needed since Jenkins left.