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Carolina Panthers Offseason Needs- TSJ Sports

Carolina Panthers Offseason Needs NFL carpenter1454 via flickr

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Carolina Panthers Offseason Needs- TSJ Sports

The Panthers had a historic season last year. Losing just one game all year to the Super Bowl Champion Denver Broncos. Ron Rivera and his Panthers were hopeful to make another Super Bowl run. In 2016 however, found themselves headed home and not qualifing for the postseason. Carolina would finish the season with a disappointing 6-10 record.

Cam Newton and his offensive line struggled drastically. Carolina not resigning Josh Norman caused them to have a horrendous pass defense and their young defensive backs got exposed all year long. The Panthers now head into the 2017 offseason looking to rectify several issues and competing in the NFC South this season.

 

Defensive Backfield

The Panthers struggled to defend the pass due to the departure of Josh Norman. The decision not to resign Norman caused the Panthers to play young and unexperienced corners throughout the season. The Panthers early draft picks Daryl Worley and James Bradberry progressed well throughout the season. The question is are they the impact players the Panthers need right now? Kurt Coleman is clearly the alpha dog in the secondary. They could use a partner in crime that makes his job easier at safety.

The Panthers do have the 8th overall pick and could select an impact player to play in their secondary like Jamal Adams, Marshon Lattimore, or Malik Hooker. Some notable free agents the Panthers can target are AJ Bouye from the Texans, Stephon Gilmore from the Bills, and Prince Amukamara from the Jaguars.

Offensive Line

The last time the Panthers drafted a tackle in the first round was in 2008. They selected Jeff Otah with the 19th overall pick. He hasn’t played since 2011.The Panthers need to spend draft picks on offensive lineman if they want to protect Cam Newton long term and continue to be a run-based offense. General manager Dave Gettleman has drafted only three offensive linemen in four years.

None have been selected higher than guard Trai Turner in the third round. It may be time for that to change if the Panthers want to give Newton what he needs to have a long, productive career. The Panthers can draft a quality offensive linemen in the first three rounds. Some players they will most likely target are Dion Dawkins from Temple, Tony Garcia from Troy, or Ryan Ramcyz from Wisconsin. Some notable free agents the Panthers could sign are Kelvin Beachum from the Jaguars, Riley Reiff from the Lions, and Ryan Clady from the Jets

Upgrade The Pash Rush

It is imperative for the Panthers to find a dynamic pass-rusher who can wreak havoc off the edge.The Panthers defensive front is solid in the middle but need to create a pash rush. The Panthers can try to fix that by selecting Derek Barnett . Barnett has been one of the most productive edge defenders in the entire country during his career.

While at the University of Tennessee, Barnett racked up 29 sacks and 47.5 tackles for loss in 35 career games. Defensive end Charles Johnson is not getting any younger and his performance in 2016 diminished.  Alongside him was Kony Ealy, who isn’t explosive, but is very solid. Ealy has recorded five sacks in each of the past two seasons.

To try and generate a little more pass rush on the edges, the Panthers could look to add some playmakers there. Some notable free agents the Panthers can go after are Melvin Ingram from the Chargers, Chandler Jones from the Cardinals, and Nick Perry from the Packers.