With the Carolina Panthers competing in the always explosive NFC South, they have made it a priority to improve the secondary. Mike Mitchell has been signed by the Panthers after four years of playing defense with the Oakland Raiders.
Mitchell was a jack of all trades with the struggling Raiders as he was moved from defensive back to strong safety after the 2010 season. The Panthers came into this offseason expected not to make much noise, so this minor-move doesn’t surprise me. It was a saturated market for defensive backs and Carolina was able to snag Mitchell at a pretty good price.
Hopefully the Panthers can benefit from Mitchell’s hard hitting nature. While with Oakland, Mitchell played in 61 games and recorded 145 tackles with two interceptions, 3.5 sacks and 11 passes defended as well. Ron Rivera is a defensive minded head coach, so I expect him to get the most out of someone who was a second-round pick back in the 2009 NFL draft.
Although the Chicago Bears were rumored to have interest, the Panthers re-signed Captain Munnerlyn to a one-year deal. It was Munnerlyn who was forced to step up when the Panthers defense lost Chris Gamble for the season in just week-four. With the ability to play both corner and safety at a high level, both of these offseason acquisitions should help the Panthers improve in 2013.
Rivera is definitely on the hot seat, so don’t be surprised when he is shipped out of town if this defense continues to get steamrolled by NFC South offenses.