FanPost

Changed My Mind. Forget WRs. The Panthers Need To Focus On Both Lines In The Draft


I admit, watching the Atlanta Falcons makes me wish that Cam Newton's great potential could be given targets like Roddy White, Julio Jones and Anthony Gonzalez. And Steve Smith's advancing age is a concern. And yes, the new GM could decide to part with one of the Panthers' great RBs.

Still, watching Baltimore play against that great Denver defense and give Joe Flacco all day to throw the football and blast open all those holes - and watch Denver's offensive line do the same - I say give Newton and whichever of Stewart and Williams they keep (maybe they keep both who knows) the guys that they need in front of them to just maul people on the ground, build a great defensive front seven with Kuechly and the LBs leading the way, and that should be enough to get them in the playoffs.

Yes, they will still need to get better at WR. But one thing that I liked about the Giants is that they rarely really went after "franchise" WRs in the first round of the draft or free agency. Instead, they generally got their WRs in rounds 2-4, and used a "quantity instead of quality approach" ... instead of using a first round pick ever 3 or 4 years looking for franchise guys, they'd pick up a WR every year or every other year towards the middle of the draft that was good but not great. Instead of a fully rounded franchise or pro bowl type WR, they'd get a bunch of guys with attributes that they could use in their system. And as Cam Newton is a similar type of passer to Eli Manning - in that accuracy and field vision aren't his strongest suits but he is very good at making plays downfield in the vertical game, especially if he has WRs to make plays on the ball for him - it is good that the Panthers have a Giants guy as a GM.

Now one thing that is unusual: the Giants really didn't invest that much in their OL or running game. They have only used 3 high draft picks on either position since 1999, and one of them was when Tom Coughlin drafted his son-in-law in the second round. However, hopefully Dave Gettleman will realize what he has - two great tailbacks and a QB that has almost 8000 passing yards, 1500 rushing yards and 62 total TDs in his first 2 seasons - and alter that philosophy around it.

I wanted the Panthers to get a WR in the first round in the worst way, and felt that Terrance Williams of Baylor (who despite all the hype that Marquise Lee got was the fellow who actually led college football in receiving last year ... Williams had over 1000 more yards than did Lee, and also had a higher than 4 yards per catch average than did Lee, and he is also taller and bigger) would have been just the guy for the Panthers to get. But now, were the Panthers to get Johnathan Hankins or Sheldon Richardson at DT in the first round and D.J. Fluker or Lane Johnson (RT, Oklahoma) in the second, that would be ideal.

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