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 Post subject: Team Needs: Carolina Panthers
PostPosted: Sat Dec 25, 2010 3:22 am 
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Joined: Thu Dec 23, 2004 3:03 pm
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Location: North Carolina
Since I'm no longer employed by The Huddle Report.com to do their team needs, I have no outlet to do them this year, so now you people get to suffer through them. I'll go through each team in roughly the draft order come in April from 1 to 32, and use the same grading/rating scale I used on that site.

NEEDS RATING KEY

5.0 - High priority. This is a position that is a glaring weakness and there is the likelihood that this team cannot compete next year without making a major addition here.

4.0 - Medium Priority. This is an area that is an obvious weakness, but the team isn't quite desperate to make a major move here possibly because they have some young potential. But this is an area that if the team cannot fix via free agency, will definitely use one of their picks in the first three or four rounds to supplement.

3.0 - Upgrade Potential. This is a position that isn't a weakness per se, but there is significant room for an upgrade. If the right player comes along they will certainly snag him, but if they don't fix this position with a major free agent addition or early round pick, then it's not the end of the world.

2.0 - Depth Need. An area where there is a need to add depth. Perhaps there is an aging veteran and they might want to start to look at grooming his heir apparent or replacement. Not likely to be a high priority and a position that more than likely will be address in the middle and late rounds rather than with a top pick.

1.0 - Future Need. This is an area that is not a priority, and doesn't initially appear as a need. But there is some room to develop some depth for perhaps two or more years down the line. This is usually an area that a team will look at in the late rounds if at all.

0.0 - Non-need. This is a position that is a strength of their team, they have a solid starter, capable depth, and/or a young player at the position that they like and want to develop. Very little possibility this area is addressed and would be the equivalent of a wasted draft pick.

Top 7 needs

1. DT - 4.0
2. QB - 3.5
3. TE - 3.0
4. CB - 3.0
5. OG - 3.0
6. WR - 3.0
7. OT - 2.0

Position by Position Breakdown

Quarterback - The Panthers used a No. 2 on Jimmy Clausen this past year, but he has had very few bright spots on a bad Panthers offense. Which means that with the No. 1 overall pick, the Panthers will be in a position to take the best passer in this year's draft, and that likely will be the case. The Panthers indicated their lack of trust in Clausen a year ago when they used a late round pick on Tony Pike. They have a bunch of young quarterbacks already under the fold with Clausen, Pike, and Matt Moore. But the team not only will look to use their top pick on a QB, they may also be in the running to bring in a veteran like Derek Anderson to compete as well. NEED: 3.5

Running Back - DeAngelo Williams is entering the final year of his contract, and there has been talk that his lack of durability will cause the Panthers to move him this off-season or at least not be enthusiastic about his return. The play of Mike Goodson down the stretch won't help Williams's chances of returning. Stewart had his moments, but was inconsistent throughout the year. All this potential turnover, and the Panthers could be in the market for depth, but are unlikely to use a high pick on a player since they should be confident that they will have at least two of those backs if not all three back next year. NEED: 0.5

Fullback - Tony Fiammetta struggled as a replacement to Brad Hoover as a rookie in 2009, but showed considerable improvement as a sophomore this past season. Rashawn Jackson as his backup is a nice developmental guy as well. NEED: 0.0

Wide Receiver - David Gettis and Brandon LaFell have had their moments as rookies, but neither is what anybody would consider a future go-to threat. And whether or not this is a top priority is if the Panthers decide to move Steve Smith after the season and try to go young. It seems doubtful at this point that will happen, but with Smith getting up in age, it's clearly time to start looking for his future replacement. NEED: 3.0

Tight End - The Panthers have three nice tight ends, but nobody that is considered a dynamic threat, and without having that reliable outside threat, it might be time to find that player. Rosario is their closest option, but he's not as reliable as Jeff King. If they can get a dynamic go-to option here, they may target one particularly to take pressure off the wide receiver position. NEED: 3.0

Offensive Tackle - Depth is the major issue here since Gross and Otah are solid starters, but they've been without one for most of the past two years, with it being Gross in 2009 and Otah this season. Schwartz is a decent backup right tackle and Wharton has filled in ably for Gross in the past. But there is need for another swing tackle option to help here. NEED: 2.0

Offensive Guard - Bernardeau had a nice 2009 season when Wharton moved outside, but he is far from a stud. Throw in the slow development of Duke Robinson, there is a need for them to try and upgrade this position. NEED: 3.0

Center - Ryan Kalil is one of the better centers that nobody really talks about in the league, being athletic and physical. They could potentially add depth, but it's an area that they can probably live with an undrafted or street free agent if need be. NEED: 1.0

Defensive Tackle - They've had a steady rotation here, but nobody has really emerged as a strong starter. Derek Landri is probably their best option, but nobody is really a guy that you think is more than an overglorified rotational guy and No. 3 option. This a position that is likely to be addressed both in the draft and free agency, trying to beef up and add some disruptive players here. NEED: 4.0

Defensive End - Despite concerns about the Panthers pass rush without Julius Peppers, Charles Johnson has stepped up and filled in fairly well. If there is any issue, it's that Everette Brown has not lived up to expectations on the other side. But between him, Tyler Brayton, and Greg Hardy as a situational guy they are able to provide enough pressure to get by. They of course wouldn't be against adding another pass rusher, but it's more to bolster the rotation than because they are in desperate need for help. NEED: 1.5

Linebacker - Beason is the anchor here, and James Anderson has had a good year in the absence of Thomas Davis. Davis is on the verge of free agency and his recent string of injuries may have the team looking elsewhere. If that is the case, then Dan Connor is the likeliest candidate to fill in as a starter on the outside. But Connor didn't really blow them away when he was in the lineup before his injury this year, so they'll likely bring in another player to add depth and be an insurance policy on the outside. NEED: 1.5

Cornerback - There is talk that Richard Marshall won't be back next year, and if that is the case there will be a glaring hole at corner. Captain Munnerlyn is a nice nickel option, but would be overmatched as a starter. But regardless they'll likely address depth even if Marshall comes back. NEED: 3.0

Safety - Martin and Godfrey aren't the best pair of safeties out there, but both are capable in coverage, contribute vs. the run, play fast and physical and are young. The team might add some depth, but if Gerald Alexander is able to make a healthy return next year, they should be fine there. NEED: 1.0

Kicker - John Kasay isn't as reliable as he once was and at age 41, they might look at a younger option. BUt they can probably eke another year from Kasay with Lloyd as the kickoff specialist. But with the team in full rebuilding mode, it would make sense to eliminate the need to carry two kickers with a young guy that can handle both duties. NEED: 1.0

Punter - Baker is still a solid punter with a nice leg and good accuracy. But his production has slipped a bit in the past few years. But there is no need to make a change, just the potential to bring in an undrafted rookie for the sake of competition. NEED: 0.5

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