The main purpose of this post, is to try and shed light upon the current roster situation of the Carolina Panthers.
This may not be music to your ears, like various other posts I have read that have raved about the progress of Tedd Ginn and Brandon Lafell (I myself before the season thought that Gettleman was smart to not reach for any WRs in the previous draft). This may not be a post hailing Tedd Ginn as the saviour to Carolina's needs for a number 1 receiver when Smitty hangs up his boots. This may not be a story that indulges in the mouthwatering raw potential of Kenny Britt, exclaiming that he is one year of consistency in both avoiding injuries and off the field trouble from being the new Megatron.
However, this is the Ugly Truth:
The Carolina Panthers need a top flight Wide receiver to become a serious playoff contender.
Firstly, Steve Smith is getting old, and it is seriously showing. Yes, against the Rams he got fired up after JJ foolishly pushed the family button, and Smith consequently went nuts and scored. Yes, he is still a good receiver. Yes, he is a vital part of the offense not only during the games where he is a tremendous effort blocker and a good route runner. However, he is not the same as he once was. Primarily a deep threat to stretch the field as a young player, Smith is not the burner he once was. He has obviously improved footwork, route running, body control etc, but he is not the prototypical no1 WR, and while he got away with it in the past, this season it is beginning to become clear that he is best suited to continue in the slot or situationally on the outside.
Tedd Ginn, is not a no 1 receiver. He never was, and he never will be. It is fantastic that he has come in and helped the offense this season, and seems to be a different player than during his tenure at either Miami or San Fransisco. But let me make one thing abundantly clear. He is not a number 1 receiver in the NFL, and not really even close. For me, the drop of a beautifully thrown deep ball by Newton last Thursday, best sums up Ginn's career: constantly put in a position to prove himself to the NFL world, and constantly disappointing. (I was unable to find this play online but if you saw it, you know what I'm talking about). Drafted as a top ten player, he has never been able to emulate on the field, that which his intangibles would suggest he is capable of. I believe that Carolina has really been able to bring out the best in Ginn, and nearly to the point that I am comfortable calling him the number 2 receiver behind Smith, but he is not a number 1. Sorry.
Finally, onto Brandon Lafell: In all honesty, having watched alot of tape with an optimistic frame of mind, he has never once jumped out at me for the entirety of a whole game. He often fails to get any separation from his covering DB, and does not have nearly good enough hands at the point of attack to make up for this lack of separation. Lafell is a player I have hoped for the last two season would break out, and has not. He may be a decent number 2 receiver, but frankly, I think anything more than decent in generous.
The Truth is not always pretty. It isnt meant to be. The Carolina Panthers led by Dave Gettleman and Ron Rivera, have the makings of a great young team with a stellar franchise QB and terrifying front seven on defense. The offensive line does need work, particularly on the outside since Byron Bell is not good enough to protect Cam's right side, and Gross is in the twilight of his career. Adding a quality cornerback would be a welcomed move to an already formidable defense. However, if the Carolina Panthers are serious about becoming a perennial playoff team, they must take a WR in the first two rounds of the upcoming draft. There is a ton of talent at the position in 2014, and if they do draft someone (provided they aren't a bust which is obviously not something I can predict), then this offense led by Cam, can become the consistent threat that is needed to make not only the playoffs, but a push for the ever-elusive Lombardi Trophy.
That is, after all, what it is all about.
Thanks for reading