Dear fellow Panthers fans,
Please refrain from continuing to worry about the state of the team after what many consider a devastating off-season for the franchise. If you take a closer look, the team is actually in a better state than it was at this point last year. To all of those who say the team is doomed after losing all of their receivers from last season, remind me again of who made the pro bowl of their receiving core? Steve Smith, the team’s top receiver, only caught 745 yards and four touchdowns. The only memory from Brandon LaFell I have from last season is that dropped fourth down short curl against the Cardinals. I also remember watching the ball fall through Ted Ginn Jr.'s hands on a post pattern too many times. Basically, I am saying that the receivers ranked second to last in the NFL last year in reception yards, and the team still won the NFC South with a twelve and four record.
So did the Panther’s receiving core actually get worse this off season? The answer is no, it’s hard to get worse than it was last season. With the additions of Jerricho Cotchery, Jason Avant, Tiquan Underwood, and the first round draft pick Kelvin Benjamin, I believe that it’s better. As for the loss of Mike Mitchell and Captain Munnerlyn, that is not of grave concern either.
Before arriving in Carolina for one season, Mike Mitchell was a busted second round pick by the Oakland Raiders who had two career interceptions in four seasons. After spending one season getting paid the league minimum for veterans behind the Carolina Panthers front seven, Mitchell totaled a career high in tackles, forced fumbles, and interceptions earning himself a five year, twenty five million dollar contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Captain Munnerlyn is a 5'8 cornerback and former seventh round pick by the Panthers in 2008. He has held down the nickel corner spot well in recent years and that is where he plays best. After spending this season behind the Carolina Panthers front seven as the number one corner, he raked in a three year eleven million dollar contract with the Minnesota Vikings.
My point is that both of these players were nobodies before this past season, and now they have a whole different look to their bank accounts thanks to the services, of Charles Johnson, Greg Hardy, Luke Kuechly, Thomas Davis and many more. With the additions of Roman Harper, Thomas Decoud, and Antoine Cason, the Panthers secondary looks to be even better than the group last year who ranked 6th in the NFL in pass yards allowed.
The only real concerning loss for the Panthers is their pro-bowl left tackle Jordan Gross. However, those who criticize the team for not taking a tackle in the draft do not fully understand the draft process. David Gettleman the Panther's general manager said that he believes other than the top four tackles, none of the rest available were better than the ones the Panthers already have on the roster. Bill Polian, a two time NFL executive of the year, called David Gettleman one of the best talent evaluators he has ever worked with. Gettleman's first draft appears to have been a great success with only five picks. So until Gettleman proves me wrong, I have to believe in everything he is doing.