So here we are exactly one week before the draft. Cam is recovering from ankle surgery, Smith is history (bet you haven't heard enough of that yet), and we lost Gross, Munnerlyn, and Mitchel. Yet I feel quite optimistic. Why? Because I believe in how this organization is being run. Over the last three years the Panthers have improved dramatically through the draft and offseason, why should this season be any different? We had a hard schedule last season with plenty of games we weren't projected to win and we managed to pull those off. The approach to take every game one week at a time has turned out magically for Rivera, as well as the "riverboat" 4th down calls.
Offense. What everyone rightfully should be worried about. The addition of Underwood, Avant, Cotchery, And Dickson still leaves Cam enough depth to be productive. Now I'm not 100% sold on the running game under Mike Shula , but Stewart is heading into a contract year and is backed by Deangelo, Tolbert, and maybe a glimpse of Kenjon Barner. They can get it done by association. I think a option heavy offense wether it be run or pass, based out of a two TE set with a veteran possession receiver will be enough for Cam to flourish; especially as the unrivaled leader of the offense. I also like that for the first time in Cam's NFL career he is taking a different offseason approach, this ankle surgery has led to time in the film room and sidelines WATCHING. It's amazing what you can learn just by studying the mechanics of "your" players. I think this offense should be more consistent than last year but may lack a touch of big play finess which we love to see year in year out.
Defense, what was once our weakest link is now feared league wide. Our pass rush is un-paralleled to any team and our linebackers can cover/ tackle. We have signed about as many safety's as one can have which leads to the question of Charles Godfrey's contract. His number is 7mil and if he gets cut with the june1st deadline we will save 5.1mil, from what I gather. That leaves a 2mil loss, which is what we offered DeCoud. So it seems like the Panthers will offer Godfrey something right in that realm and hopefully retain our safety as well as our money to sign draft picks and make mid season moves if need be. The cornerback position hasn't been the same since Ken Lucas and Chris Gamble but with our front 7 putting more pressure on the QB and a group of veteran safety's our Legion of Whom will continue to make plays, especially with a potential draft pick. I like the addition of Antoine Cason but I feel like our worst offseason move was letting the Captain walk. I could talk for hours on why he needed to stay but there isn't much use dwelling on the past. Overall CB core is standard and hopefully we will have a breakout player emerge.
As far as draft day goes I'm excited but really have no clue on how things could pan out. We could draft the best OL and cross our fingers or we could trade up with Rams only to take Kalil Mack. I think Gettlemen will make the right moves and I'll be sure to tune in with a bucket of popcorn and my Cam Jersey for the festivities.
what I'd like to see!?!? Well I'd honestly love a blitzing LB to replace Chase Blackburn. Last season our LBs faked the blitz way to much and the addition of a pass-rushing LB would add a whole new threat. Offensively though I think a solid OL or Hog Molly if you will, would be fine and as far as WR goes I just want a big blocking body with sure hands. Finally I really like the idea of taking a Top RB or TE In the second or third round. Next year is going to be big for us in free agency and a little help in this years draft could make all the difference