The Carolina Panthers were a team in need of a big time draft class. Facing salary cap issues, they were unable to throw any money around in free agency, to significantly upgrade the roster. Without any huge signings, the team had to make the most out its five draft picks.
It was pretty clear the Panthers would address their need for help on the defensive line, and they did just that, by selecting defensive tackles Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short. In the rounds that followed, the team added depth on the offensive line (Edmund Kugbila) and to the linebacker corps (A.J. Klein), while also selecting another running back in the sixth round (Kenjon Barner).
One position that was absent from this class, though, was wide receiver. Many analysts thought the Panthers would seek to add depth their receiver corps, because there isn’t exactly a plethora of weapons for Cam Newton to throw to. Outside of Steve Smith, Carolina definitely lacks big play-making ability. This makes the offseason acquisition of Ted Ginn Jr., seem even more important.
Fans should expect Ginn to get a fair shot at playing time as a receiver this year, and for him to expand on his ‘return specialist’ role.
To be fair, the Panthers did ink a couple of undrafted free agent receivers with Michael Avila out of San Jose St., and Trey Diller out of Sam Houston State. Obviously, undrafted rookies are long-shots at best, but at least the team added a few guys to come in and compete.
Carolina also failed to draft a cornerback, another position where they needed some help. So all in all, I think this class falls in the C+ to B- range. They got some really good players up front, but failed to bring in any impact players at receiver and corner.
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