Have Panthers overated their players?

Usually the term overated is used when talking about draft picks, or post-season awards/rankings, but by far the most damaging to a team is if they overate their own talent. This leads to waiting a year or more too long to draft a player, or players, to fill an area of need, forcing the team to continually play catch up when drafting, forcing them to trade for talent, and pass over talent on the waiver wire.

This has clearly been a problem in the past for the Panthers. Here are a few examples:

1. They waited far to long to draft help at WR for Steve Smith, and the few they did draft very seldom got the playing time to develop, as Fox prefered veterans, and valued a WR's blocking more than their receiving ability.

2. They were a year or 2 too slow in drafting replacement D-Linemen, allowing the D-Line to age out of usefullness.

3. They stuck with players too long, until they absolutely proved they were over the hill in their last season, before finding a replacement (Minter, Delhomme, etc.). As baseball GM "Trader" Lane said, "It's always better to trade a player a year early than a year late.

You can't put all the blame on Hurney, because you have to beat out the brush fires around you before you have time to focus on fire prevention. That's the jump the Panthers have never been able to make. Great teams like the Steelers almost never have to draft to fill current needs, because they are free to draft the best player available, for what they will be in 1-3 years, not to shove them into a starting job as a rookie. Average teams have to draft to fill current team needs, and not all rookies are ready to play that first year. Poor teams seem to always be drafting to fill the needs they didn't address 1-2 years before. I won't lable the Panthers as poor, but they are below average, because they have to try and play catch up in the draft each year. That's largely because the Panthers over value their own players, and aren't cold blooded enough to cut players at the first signs that they are breaking down.

Did the Panthers turn the corner when they changed coaches last season? Who knows. so far the results are a little mixed, and it's very hard to fix blame on any one individual. Here are some points, you decide:

The Panthers have turned the corner:

1. They finally cut Otah.

2. They cut DT Terrell McClain, their #65 pick in 2011.

3. They probably had their best draft in years in 2012.

4. They had the foresight to trade for OT Bruce Campbell.

5. The signing of RB/RB Mike Tolbert is a good one.

6. They signed DT Edwards after the Bills cut him.

The Panthers still havent turned the corner yet:

1. They should have traded or cut Otah during the offseason, before training camp (maybe they tried).

2. They misjudged several free agents they signed, and cut them (Smith, Tucker, etc.)

3. RR over used his starters last season (Hardy, CJ, the top 3 WR's, etc), so the starting DE's were worn out by the 12th game.

4. Poor drafting in 2011, except for Cam, it was a 1 man draft, Pilares is the only other player drafted with potential.

5. They said they were happy with their DT's during the draft, but then had to sign DT Edwards after the final roster cuts.

6. They passed on drafting a big/fast WR (Hill, Jeffery), putting all their eggs in Gettis basket, then being force to trade for Murphy, because Gettis had to start the year on the PUP list.

7. When free agent signing Smith couldn't make the club, they had to trade for Jones, another backup S/special teamer.

8. They only have 4 CB's on their roster, but passed on several young CB's on waivers (Murphy, Van Dyke, Chekwa, Franks, etc.).

9. The teams top need was an improved pass rush, but passed up the only pass rushing LB who was cut, even for the Practice Squad.

10. They placed some player on the Practice Squad with no hope of ever making an NFL roster (Rosario - too slow for WR and too small for TE, if he adds 30 pounds for TE it will take away the little speed he has. Bryant - had a 78 yard TD catch, but couldn't catch the next 4 balls thrown to him, and played flat footed, not jumping for the ball.). They could have at least added a 5th CB, and added some promising young talent to the Practice Squad, that might save them a draft pick next year.

As of now, what will likely be the Panthers draft needs next year (remember, they are without their 3rd and probably their 6th round picks next year):

1. A good pass rusher, either a DE, OLB, or DE/OLB.

2. Safety, Martin will likely leave as a free agent.

3. #2 CB, unless Norman wins the job this season (Munnerly will be a free agent), then they will only need a backup CB.

4. NT (Edwards will be 34 years old), DT (the new Edwards will be 32 years old), or both.

5. LOT replacement for Gross, this may have to wait for the 2014 draft.

6. ROG to backup/replace Hangartner.

7. A Backup TE (Barnidge and Hartsock will be free agents).

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