Walter Football Forecasts the Panther Rookies

Lance King

Charlie at Walter Football puts together a pretty good forecast of the Panther rookies.

Hat Tip to rtb285 for being the first to post this link on CSR via fanshot.

His selection for 'Solid Starter' among the rookies: Carolina Panthers Rookies Forecast
It is very hard to find defensive tackles who are good pass-rushers and Kawann Short has proven ability to get after the quarterback. He is very quick off the snap to fire by guards and gain leverage. The 6-foot-3, 308-pounder has good closing speed with the strength to shed blocks. He looked excellent at the Senior Bowl going against good competition.

To get a pass rushing DT seems too good to be true honestly so while I agree he will be a good starter I'm not going to expect too much from the rookie. If he can just focus on stopping the run the Panthers will get plenty of pressure from the DEs.

Next Charlie picks his 'Most Likely to Bust' which is an obvious pick for the Panthers rookie class in my opinion:

The Panthers need to build an offensive line for the future for Cam Newton, so taking a lineman was understandable. Edmund Kugbila is a raw player having played college football at a lower level of competition. According to, Kugbila could have gone to Florida, Alabama or Georgia had he scored a little bit higher on his SAT. Perhaps that is related to his immigration from Ghana at age 10.

This selection had the Panthers faithful erupt with a collective 'Who?". For some reason the Panthers not only thought he was draftable but that they also needed to grab him in the 4th round. We are left to trust our scouts and coaches that this kid is the real deal but for now this forecast seems most plausible of the class.

The 'Potential Boom' pick was also an easy one for Charlie (and anyone else paying attention):

Star Lotulelei has a rare combination of size, power, speed and explosion. He can beat blockers with strength or quickness. Lotulelei is dominant when he isn't double-teamed and remains effective while taking on two blockers.

The Panthers' defensive tackles were a major weakness in 2012 and Lotulelei looks like an immediate upgrade. Carolina needed to improve its interior run defense and Lotulelei should do that instantly. The team's solid pass-rushing ends, Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy, should result in Lotulelei seeing some good looks to get after the quarterback. I wouldn't be surprised if the rookie ends up being a boom pick for Carolina and one of the better defensive tackles in the NFC.

It is so easy to get excited when looking at the Panthers front 7 on paper and it's these two rookie DTs that really make it work. Short may not start right away but I see him rotating in a lot, certainly in pass rushing situations. Star on the other is going to be a boom pick and a lot of other teams are going to questions themselves why they passed on this guy.

Charlie's Future Depth Player is not LB AJ Klein but our 6th round pick instead:

If the Panthers move on from Williams or Stewart, Kenjon Barner should be a solid backup running back who can excel in third-down duties. He brings a speed element to Carolina's backfield and could be a nice weapon on spread-option plays if those remain in the Panthers' playbook. Barner was a quality pick in the sixth round as he could have gone much earlier. The rookie looks like a safe late-round pick with the ability to make a roster and develop into a solid depth player.

I think he could have went with Klein here too and he would have been just as appropriate. While agree Barner can serve as solid depth I see him as more of role player even with both Williams and Stewart on the roster.

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