Love them or hate them, Pro Football Focus (PFF) churns out a lot of content every off-season. They have started with their "Best of" series for the 2023 season, so let's take a look at their rankings for the Carolina Panthers offensive players.
25. BRYCE YOUNG, CAROLINA PANTHERS
Young was the best quarterback in this draft by a considerable margin, and the only thing that made the discussion close was his lack of size — something that becomes obvious any time he is captured on film with anything near him to show true scale. Young has elite accuracy, anticipation and decision-making (back-to-back seasons with a 2.0% turnover-worthy play rate), but success at his size in the modern NFL is without precedent.
Having Young at 25 seems fair considering he's yet to take an NFL snap. Here's a list of the QB's he's ranked ahead of to start the season...
Jordan Love, Sam Howell, Baker Mayfield, Colt McCoy, CJ Stroud, Desmond Ridder and Anthony Richardson.
While it's fair to have Young at 25, and I think on paper, he's definately ahead of all those QB's, but he may even be higher on the list when you consider these guys are ahead of him...
Jimmy Garoppolo, Brock Purdy, Kenny Pickett, Mac Jones, Ryan Tannehill, Justin Fields, and Daniel Jones.
Given his college tape, it wouldn't be hard to put him over some, if not all of those QB's, even if he hasn't played a down yet.
While in his first year, it's hard to put him in the upper echelon of QB's like Mahomes, Allen, Burrow, Herbert, etc., having him anywhere from 18 to 22ish seems about right.
What do you think? Is 25 too high? Too low??
2. Running Back
23. MILES SANDERS, CAROLINA PANTHERS
Sanders smashed his career highs in 2022 with more than 1,200 rushing yards, 781 yards after contact and 34 explosive runs. He recorded the third-most rushing yards before contact (490), but that doesn’t have to be seen as something only attributable to the offensive line. Sometimes, great vision allows backs to find open space before contact. It was a leap in production in 2022. We’ll see if that efficiency continues with him now in Charlotte.
Where they have Sanders ranked seems about in line with where he stands amongst NFL RB's. There are a lot of great RB's in todays' NFL. The only real surprise ahead of Sanders in #17 Tyler Allgeier... Things that make you go hmmm.
3. Wide Recievers
Yes, it's empty. PFF only listed the top 32 WR's since there are 32 teams, and alas, they confirmed what we all know... The Carolina Panthers don't have a WR1 caliber player on the roster. Some believe Mingo can develop into one, most others don't. One thing for certain, Carolina needs to find a dynamic, young WR1 to pair with Young pronto!, so they can develop and grow together.
4. Tight End
PFF only listed 15 TE's, so Hurst didn't make the list. There seems to be a theme developing.
5. Offensive Tackle
27. TAYLOR MOTON, CAROLINA PANTHERS
A dependable pass blocker on the right side of the Panthers' offensive line, Moton has produced 77.0-plus PFF pass-blocking grades in all five seasons he has been a full-time NFL starter.
PFF has ranked Taylor Moton as the 27th best OT in the league. While still a good tackle, Moton wasn't nearly as dominant as in the past. His run blocking was decidedly worse than previous seasons. He was outplayed by his counterpart on the left in the second half of the season. Speaking of Ekwonu, he's not to be found in the Top 32 NFL tackles. You'd be hard pressed to find many tackles who played better than Ekwonu did near the end of last season. It will be interesting to see his progression and see if he's recognized as a top tackle in the coming years.
6. Offensive Guard
23. AUSTIN CORBETT, CAROLINA PANTHERS
Corbett was solid in 2022, earning a 69.1 PFF grade that ranked 19th among guards. Particularly impressive in pass protection, he achieved a career-high PFF pass-blocking grade (76.2), allowing just 15 pressures on 541 pass-blocking snaps.
Corbett had a great year in 2022. He played solid football. When you look at Offensive Line rankings, it's hard to be objective. As a fan, when I watch a game that doesn't include the Carolina Panthers, the last thing I'm doing is watching IOL. It's all about fantasy football and what the WR's and RB's are doing. So, it's difficult to really complain or praise this ranking.
14. Bradley Bozeman, Carolina Panthers
Bozeman’s switch from guard to center in 2021 resulted in the highest PFF grade (73.3) of his four-year NFL career. He’s not a great athlete, but Bozeman rarely gets beat in the run game and showed improvements as a pass-protector after switching to center last season.
Once he finally got on the field ahead of Elflein, he never looked back. He's a very solid anchor in the center of the OL. He'll be very important this coming season setting the depth of the pocket for our less than ideal height QB.
There's a theme that has developed for the Carolina Panthers offense, the sum of the parts is greater than the individual parts. The Panthers don't have upper echelon players. The best at each position group are middle of the pack or lower in term of overall ranking. The only group that is the same is the OL, and they have a bunch of middle tier guys, but as a unit, they have the ability to play above their rankings.
With so many unknowns, i.e. new OC, new QB, all new WR's, new TE, new mashup McVay/Reich playbook, we have absolutely no idea what our offense will look like, and how the players are going to respond. But as I said, I think with the talent level we have, the sum will be greater than the individual parts.
What say you, Panther fans?