After looking at all 32 teams, I felt 16 of the 32 teams had a decent enough answer at the backup QB question to move on to the other 11 categories. Keep in mind that rarely does any team have a great answer to all of these questions but after the QB here are the rest of the questions to be answered. Be careful not to just fill in names but ask yourself just how good the player is for each category.
Question 1: Does your team have a capable backup QB that can go at least 2-2 in a four-game stretch?
I think Derek Anderson is one of the better back-ups in the league and given our defense should be able to lead the Panthers in the short term to victory. So my answer is ‘Yes'.
Question 2: Does your team have a real swing offensive tackle, a guy that can play left or right tackle and has experience?
Now that's a tough one for the Panthers. As we all know tackle is our weakest position and though we do have players that could swing back and forth between the left and right side the question remains as to how well they would perform. I think that when the 2014 season rolls around the Panthers will have three players that could play both spots: Byron Bell, Nate Chandler and Garry Williams. Whether any of these three meet the intent of this question is very debatable but I'm inclined to say ‘No'.
Question 3: Does your team have a solid inside offensive lineman that can play guard or center?
Up until this offseason the Panthers have relied on Jeff Byers and Geoff Hangartner to fill this role. Both of those guys are gone now. That's leaves only Brian Folkerts on the roster as an experienced back-up center but he has never played OG in the NFL. (He was a tackle in college) None of the Panthers OG appear to have experience at center so that leaves UDFA C Jared Wheeler out of Miami as the only player with experience playing both center and guard. Hence I would say this answer is ‘No'.
Question 4: Is there a quality second running back that can deliver a 100-yard rushing day if he had to start?
Actually I'd say we have two options with Mike Tolbert on the roster should either of our Double Trouble RBs gets injured. We know this scenario all too well. Answer is a resounding ‘Yes'.
Question 5: Is there a good second tight end on the roster?
The Panthers are certainly actively looking for a second TE and hopefully they have found one a ‘good' one either in Ed Dickson or Brendan Williams. It's debatable but I'm going to say ‘Yes' to this one.
Question 6: Can the third wide receiver step up and start in the two-WR packages if a starter went down?
While I agree the WR is a question mark as far as having a true #1 but I think we have this question covered given the veteran depth we have at WR. I'm saying the answer is a ‘Yes'.
Question 7: Does your team have a designated pass-rush specialist who could play the early downs if need be?
Even before drafting Kony Ealy I would have said ‘yes' given the presence of Mario Addison, Frank Alexander and Wes Horton (as long as ‘early' downs doesn't mean ‘early in the season'... lol). Ealy makes this an easy ‘Yes'.
Question 8: Is there a third defensive tackle that not only plays in a rotation but could play the whole game if need be?
Assuming Edwards and Star are the starters this is another easy ‘Yes' answer given 2nd year DT Kawann Short is likely to earn more playing time in 2014 if he doesn't actually start. Colin Cole is another capable back-up who could play more in a pinch.
Question 9: Is there a quality nickel corner on the roster, since most teams are at least 50 percent sub defenses?
I guess this one depends on how you define ‘quality' because the Panthers have a couple guys competing for the spot. Yet how good will they be? Can Godfrey play the nickel or will it be the rookie Benwikere? With the departure of Captain Munnerlyn I have to give this one a ‘No' because these guys are unproven at this point.
Question 10: Is there a fourth corner for dime packages?
The Panthers have plenty of CBs but the question remains ‘quality'. Assuming Cason and White line up on the outside and Godfrey plays nickel that leaves the aforementioned Benwikere as the 4th guy or a bevy of young vets to choose from such as Josh Norman, Josh Thomas and James Dockery. Again I have to say ‘No' at this point.
Question 11: Is there a third safety for big nickel defenses?
In this case the Panthers have Harper, DeCoud and Robert Lester which are all rather large safeties so I would say ‘yes' to this one.
Question 12: Is there a return specialist that can either handle both punt and kick returns or contribute as a real position player?
With the departure of Ted Ginn this one is way up in the air. So much so I can't even formulate options available. But I think it's safe to say we will not have a single player handling these duties. So the answer is ‘No'
Question 13: Does your team have a special-teams linebacker that leads the specials and can play inside linebacker in a pinch?
I'm not sure if Jason Williams can play the inside but I think he fills the role this question is asking for none the less. Last year it was Jordan Senn but he has moved on so now I think its Williams and I'm calling the answer as a ‘Yes'.
By my count the Panthers have eight ‘Yes' answers and five ‘No' answers which is not exactly the result I was hoping for. It shouldn't be a surprise though that the Panthers roster lacks depth at key positions. Panthers GM Dave Gettleman has had to remake the roster and that takes time, certainly more than two offseasons. But I think the roster has improved in many areas. Thoughts?