Since we have gone through the draft and most of free agency, I'd like to see where our team will stack up now against the 2011 team position by position.This will be going under the assumption that everyone is healthy.
Same 3 players on the depth chart. But Cam is young and improving. Hopefully he will be much better in his 2nd year (not that much improvement is needed)
RB: Better (Slightly)
D-Will and J-Stew will be just as good as ever. Now we have Tolbert as a good 3rd RB and a FB. Also now Chud has more experience with them and should be able to utilize them better. Last year they had a late start because Chud was still trying to figure out how to use them. now they should mesh well together and run all over people.
WR/TE: Better (Slightly)
This one is close. We lost Shockey, but we should be getting Gettis back and we drafted Adams. Steve will be as good as ever. LaFell, Gettis, Edwards, and Pilares should improve.
OL: Better (Slightly)
This was a hard choice, the only reason I'm saying improvement is because this is assuming Otah will be back and healthy. Gross should be the same good LT, Hangartner is consistent, Kalil is as good as they come and he will stay that way, Silatolu will be a little bit of a downgrade from Wharton in his first year, having Otah back will be a mass improvement on the right side if we can keep him out there.
DL: Better (Potentially a Lot)
Johnson will continue to be a very good consistent player, Him being fully healthy again should help him. Hardy faced some injury issues last year and he was in his first year as a starter, He should be better with some experience and a full offseason (he had none last year, didnt even practice until after the preseason). Applewhite will continue to be a solid rotation guy. Keiser impressed as a UDFA and is likely to improve off of last year. Rivera seems high on Alexander and believe he can contribute. At DT we will have Edwards back. He will provide some leadership and experience to the front line. McClain and Fua should both see a lot of improvement after being thrust in as rookies, hopefully they can make some use with an actually offseason. The improvement at DT should also help the DE's a lot.
LB: Better (A Lot)
Again, this is assuming everyone is healthy. a Healthy TD and Beason playing with Anderson makes one of the best LB cores in the league, throw in Kuechly to rotate in and we have quite a strength at that position.
At CB Gamble will continue to be great. Management seems very optimistic about Hogan coming in and taking over at #2, that puts Munnerlyn and Butler at nickel and dime which is a much better fit for them. then we have Norman as a depth guy while he develops. At SS we have Godfry being solid and at FS we have some competition for Martin. Either Martin will improve, or he will be replaced, win-win for us.
Special Teams: Better (A Lot)
Mare will stay at kicker, hopefully he can do better this year (he can't do worse). Nortman will be our new punter and he is an upgrade over Baker. The addition of Adams should drastically improve our return game. We also signed a bunch of special team aces.
Before you get your hopes up too much, remember that this is with EVERYONE healthy, which is a tad unrealistic to expect.but still, with all of these improvement, next year looks to be pretty exciting. There is no reason to think that we can't take over the NFC South.