Fellow Panther fans... I have a problem. I play far too much Madden 13. I can't stop... I am addicted to playing as a virtual Ron Rivera/Marty Hurney combo, and putting together the best team I can within the salary cap. My steadfast attention to the free agent wire, shrewd trading, and timely draft picks have led to a truly drool worthy team in my 4th season as head coach/GM. Since we know that Madden parallels real football, you can all look forward to looking at a depth chart composed as follows when the 2016 season kicks off.
2016 Carolina Panthers Depth Chart
Quarterbacks - Cam Newton (OVR 98), Colin Kaepernick (OVR 77)
Cam Newton has become a mega-star by the end of his first contract. His throw power and all his accuracy ratings are maxed at 99, he has reached consistency level 4, and has acquired all the special perks available at his position. In week 1 of last season, i successfully inked him to a 6 year contract worth about $85m, which I consider to be a steal.
Colin Kaepernick is a new additon to the roster. After re-signing Derek Anderson to a two year contract with no guaranteed money, I allowed his deal to expire before this season when I saw that Kaepernick would be available. Colin follows very closely in the Cam Newton mold. Strong Arm, great runner, hard to bring down. He needs to improve on his accuracy, but will have ample time to get some XP in blowout and preseason situations. He represents the long term answer at backup QB, as he is the same age as Cam.
more after the jump...
Running backs - Jonathan Stewart (OVR 87), Jonathan Dwyer (80), Draft Pick (67)
In a move that would surely be approved by Southtunnel, DeAngelo Williams was shipped to New England along with a 2014 5th round draft pick for TE Aaron Hernandez. This left Stewart as the lead back with temporary signing Chris Ivory in reserve before the acquisition of Dwyer. Stewie has come along nicely, I invested XP into raising his development level to Superstar status, and he is now beginning to reap the benefits of that. His Trucking rating has been increased significantly, and he is very difficult to bring down.
Dwyer was acquired before my 3rd season as a capable backup and heir apparent to Stewart. His touches are limited, but he does usually manage to get about 600 yards a season.
Fullbacks - Mike Tolbert (OVR 94), Stanley Havili (OVR 80)
Changes: Richie Brockel (released)
Tolbert has evolved into a great target out of the backfield, goal line back, and run blocker. I have spent the majority of his XP improving his run and impact blocking, making him the perfect fullback for our offense. Havili is a young option who rarely sees the field, just in case Tolbert should get injured or ask too much for his next contract.
Wide Receivers - Julio Jones (OVR 90), Golden Tate (82), Johnny Knox (81), Draft Pick (78), Armanti Edwards (76), Draft Pick (72), Joe Adams (71)
Wholesale changes in the WR core. Steve Smith retired after my first season. LaFell and Murphy were both shafted in their ratings, and were replaced by Golden Tate and Johnny Knox early. Johnny Knox also took away Pilares job on KRs making him expendable.
Julio Jones and the Falcons could not come to an agreement on a long term contract when his rookie deal expired, and their loss is our gain. Julio catches everything flung his way, and consistently wins the jump ball. He gives us the true WR1 threat we need with Smitty hanging up his cleats.
Golden Tate has become an excellent possession receiver across from Julio, with Knox working well burning people out of the slot. 2 draft picks are currently developing on the team, one of which is the teams true deep threat with a speed rating of 98. Armanti Edwards continues his usefulness as a backup, but only consistently cracked the field in years 2 and 3 (before Julio and a 1st round draft pick joined the team)
Tight Ends - Greg Olsen (OVR 93), Aaron Hernandez (92), Tony Moeaki (77)
The trade that made DeAngelo Williams a Patrior made Aaron Hernandez a Panther. In the post Steve Smith and pre Julio Jones era, both Olsen and Hernandez are featured heavily in the passing game. No defense in the NFL has an answer for both players at the same time, especially as they line up in the slot quite often. Olsen and Hernandez have both been asked to improve their catching in traffic and run blocking abilities to make them more versatile.
Offensive Line - Jordan Gross (OVR 95), Amini Silatolu (81), Ryan Kalil (91), Geoff Hangartner (85), Bryron Bell (84), LT Draft Pick (79), Mike Pollak (75), Bruce Campbell (79)
Our offensive line has sent all 5 members to the pro bowl every year except the first where both guards missed the cutoff. Byron Bell and Amini Silatolu have both developed in the way we all dreamed and have become solid starters. A 1st round draft pick was spent to draft the heir apparent to Jordan Gross. Pollak and Campbell have both been retained a veteran backups. Hangartner will probably get an heir apparent in the next draft.
Defensive Ends - Charles Johnson (OVR 92), Greg Hardy (83), Applewhite (80), Keiser (76), FA Draft Pick (78), Draft Pick (71)
Charles Johnson has become a sack machine with the beastly defensive tackles I have acquired (more on that later), his block shedding ability is nearly maxed, along with consistency, tackling, and play recognition boosts. He has become a premier DE. Hardy has developed into a nice, but unspectacular compliment, but good enough. Applewhite and Keiser continue to be effective in passing situations, while a productive draft pick released by another team is quietly moving his way into a starting job. Several one year experiments have been taken on and released after their follow up contract demands were too high.
Defensive Tackles - Paul Soliai (OVR 96), Terrance Knighton (94), Stephen Paea (86), Draft Pick (74)
Total Overhaul on the defensive line. Soliai and Knighton make an impenetrable wall in the middle, and both have been signed to long term contracts to keep it that way. They also collapse the pocket very well, leaving Hardy and Johnson one on one, even chipping in sacks of their own. Ron Edwards retired from a backup role. Sione Fua hung around until just this year when the more talented and just as young Paea came available.
Linebackers - James Anderson (OVR 89), Jon Beason (93), Luke Kuechly (87), Jordan Senn (76), Jason Phillips (80), Thomas Davis (82)
Changes: Kenny Onatolu (released), Thomas Davis (released, re-signed)
The linebackers are all studs. Nothing else to be said, other than that Kuechly has developed EXTREMELY fast in full time starting duty into a premier Will backer. TD was released for cap reasons and then re-signed the following season as he went unclaimed.
Corners - Chris Gamble (OVR 95), Morris Claiborne (84), Captain Munnerlyn (81), Josh Norman (77), Draft Pick (74)
Changes: Josh Thomas (released), Brandon Hogan (contract expired)
Remember the time that we almost didn't draft Luke Kuechly because we all wanted Morris Claiborne? Apparently the Dallas Cowboys don't. Claiborne's rookie deal was allowed to expire, and I jumped on that like a frog at a trampoline factory. In truth, it made a strength even stronger. Gamble has become a premier shutdown corner, and Norman was playing quite well across from him. Munnerlyn fell to third on the depth chart and flourished, even though he was "rated higher" than Norman. Norman now loses his starting job and becomes the Dime corner, only because of an opportunistic pickup to get the heir apparent to the aging Chris Gamble. Their is also a first round draft pick looming in the background ready to seize on any opportunity. The Brandon Hogan experiment ended when Claiborne became a Panther, as he never developed into a player of note mostly due to lack of playing time behind quality starters.
Safeties - Sherrod Martin (OVR 83), Charles Godfrey (85), Draft Pick (71), Draft Pick (76)
Possibly the biggest surprise on the team, both safeties have become sound tacklers and playmakers. Thanks to massive XP gains from several pick 6s, both have been able to boost their play recognition, pursuit, tackling, and coverage ratings. Nakamura and Campbell never really got to see the field, and now a pair of young rookies are developing to eventually replace the safeties as they age.
Special Teams - UDFA kicker, Brad Nortman (65)
Mare was booted mostly as a 2nd year cap casualty and replace by a rookie UDFA that has good power. Nortman's rating is much lower than his actual skill, as his kick power and accuracy are both 90 or above. His awareness drags it down for some crazy reason.
Team Overall rating: 87
So what do you think Panther fans? Salivating at our destiny in three years yet? Madden said it, so it must be so. Widespread GM ineptitude is apparently on the horizon. Batten down the hatches, hide yo kids, hide yo wife, and get ready for a Panther Dynasty!