The 2018 Carolina Panthers have their roster pretty much set for OTAs and training camp. With the current list of available free agents, the Panthers would have to get creative if they wanted to infuse the roster with some high-end talent. That is where the other professional teams in the Carolinas could come in handy. Let’s take a look at five players who could make the Panthers a powerhouse in the NFL.
Kemba Walker - S
Kemba Walker stands at 6’1” and weighs in at 184 pounds and has elite short area quickness. His size and athletic ability would make him a versatile safety who could go man-to-man on the slot receivers and play centerfield in zone coverage. He is also a leader on the floor, so playing the position that is normally thought of as “leader of the secondary” makes sense. He made need some after practice work on tackling technique, but he’s used to covering guys without touching them so don’t expect many Pass Interference calls against him.
Dwight Howard - DE
A seven-footer with elite athletic ability coming off the edge would have opposing quarterbacks seeing double when sandwiched between Howard and Julius Peppers (though Peppers in about six inches shorter). While he may not have the strength to win in the run game, his reach and burst would allow him to be an elite pass rusher. Plus his shot-blocking ability would give opposing quarterbacks fits trying to throw over him.
Jordan Staal - TE
The current Carolina Hurricanes’ center led the team in hits this season with 181, so we know he doesn’t mind getting dirty in the trenches. He stands 6’4” and tho he’s only about 220 pounds, he could still be an effective blocker on the edge. He also has some pretty good athletic ability, allowing him to slide under the radar as a receiving threat. He is used to a tough, grinding style of play which would add some grittiness to the team.
Crystal Dunn - K
A local product out of UNC Chapel Hill, Dunn currently is a leading goal scorer for the Carolina Courage and is a member of the USWNT. She has proven that she can put the ball between the uprights on a fairly consistent basis (scoring 15 goals in 2015), the only difference would be putting it above the crossbar instead of below. At only 25, she could be the kicker of the future that Harrison Butker was supposed to be.
Scott Darling - OT
The Hurricanes hit free agency hard to bring in this 6’6”, 232 pounder between the pipes. While that may not have worked out quite like they planned, if he beefs up a little he could be of use on the offensive line for the Panthers. He’s used to blocking things with pads on and mostly moving side to side, so the basics of pass protection are there. Maybe the Panthers would get lucky and he’d be better at blocking people than he was at blocking pucks this season (insert fire emoji).
What do you think Panthers fans, which professional athlete in the Carolinas would you like to see in black and electric blue?