Carolina Panthers: Playoff Contender?
Notable Free Agents: MLB Dan Connor, TE Jeremy Shockey
Last year’s #1 overall pick, QB Cam Newton set a bazillion rookie records last year. Now the question is how to make the offense better.
Or is it?
The defense allowed over 370 total yards a game (25th in the league). They need help in the secondary and in the front seven. If they can find the cap space, they should make a play for free agent DE Mario Williams. When top-notch DE Julius Peppers left via free agency two years ago, the Panthers defense instantly went from the top third to the bottom third. Williams will make that kind of impact wherever he signs and if the Panthers are smart (and can finagle their salary cap) they will make a legit attempt to land Williams.
Regardless, they need to draft for the defense. Unless WR Justin Blackmon is still available (which could immediately make the offense a top five squad), they need help on D. DT’s Michael Brockers or combine star Dontari Poe would help right away. Shoring up the defensive line to put pressure on opposing QBs is a good start to getting this defense back on track. New Defensive Coordinator Ron Rivera can make it happen, but he needs more to work with. That’s why focusing on the defense as a whole (and getting another receiver or two) is where the Panthers need to upgrade. It’s the only way to make them a more solid playoff contender.
On the Clock: Buffalo Bills (Pick #10)