By Bryan Palmese @BryanPalmese on May 16, 2014
The Carolina Panthers have some moves to make this summer in order to maintain their presence amongst the NFC elite. Here are five items to be addressed between now and their season opener in Tampa.
Ted Ginn Jr.’s ability to help the offense start with great field position was a major asset lost this offseason in free agency. Early in free agency, Carolina added former Tampa Bay WR Tiquan Underwood to their receiving unit. Underwood, clocked a 4.31 40-time and is an electric threat with the ball in the open field. The Panthers also have two intriguing youngsters in RB Kenjon Barner and rookie WR Corey Brown. Someone needs to step up.
Charles Godfrey lost his starting safety job after Carolina signed free agents Roman Harper and Thomas DeCoud. The addition of the two savvy veterans to bolster the back end of Carolina’s defense appeared to signal a June 1 cut was in Godfrey’s future. However, the coaching staff is confident that Godfrey still has a home on their defense, but it will have to be at cornerback. Godfrey started 25 of 28 games at cornerback in college.
The Kony Ealy selection is making GM Dave Gettleman look like a genius in the wake of the recent Greg Hardy alleged domestic violence incident. Ealy is a disruptive force on the defensive line, is agile enough to kick inside and is oozing with athleticism. Ealy is still raw and will need to develop more dimensions to his game. He has Charles Johnson and the aforementioned Hardy to absorb advice and strategy from in order to get up to speed.
Cam Newton has lacked a major weapon since arriving in Carolina four years ago, but change is on the horizon. The drafting of Florida State WR Kelvin Benjamin has given Newton a big rangy red-zone target to look for. Standing at 6-foot-5 and 230 pounds, Benjamin will need to get on the same page early with Newton to build that rapport. Newton is sidelined with an injury that will keep him out of action until August. Plaxico Burress clone?
The elephant in the room is ever present and continuing to grow as the Panthers bypassed selecting an offensive tackle in the draft. Rather than reach for need, Gettleman played it smart in the draft, and will pluck a gem off of the bargain shelf this summer. Rumors of the Titans cutting ties with veteran Michael Roos could perk the ears of Carolina’s front office. The Panthers just had the underachieving J’Marcus Webb in for a workout. Help!
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