By Demario Phipps-Smith @DemarioPSmith on June 4, 2014
Although the Carolina Panthers had an amazing season in 2013, last year's season may be an outlier for the Cam Newton-led team. The Panthers added a few weapons to a team that lacked offensive explosion last season. If these five players struggle, this team will as well.
There aren’t many corners as good as Cason in the league. He has good speed and is more physical than most guys his size in the NFL. His problem will be that the Panthers' run defense will be so dominant that it will force opposing teams to throw the ball. This is a pass-happy era in the NFL and most teams want to do that any way. He's good, but he is not elite, or great for that matter.
For years it had appeared that Stewart would take over in Deangelo William’s stead. Stewart has never truly lived up to his potential and his skills are diminishing. There is no reason to believe that he’ll find the fountain of youth in this encroaching season.
Even if Blackburn is any good, it doesn’t matter because he’ll be the linebacker tested the most consistently. He may not be a slouch, but Blackburn definitely is no Thomas Davis or Luke Kuechly. At best, Blackburn will make a lot of great plays when presented the opportunity. At worst, he’ll have a lot of highlight plays made on him and keep teams in games.
Although he is a journeyman, Edwards appeared to be a fruitful investment after his six sack campaign in 2012. Last season, his play dipped and he managed just three sacks in what was considered a rebuilding year. The rest of his defensive line mates are all hellacious and aggressive, but Edward’s statistics pale in comparison despite his stature. For all intents and purposes, he is just another big run-plugger.
Every receiver not named Greg Olsen -- he’s officially listed as a tight end -- will struggle for the Panthers, so it’s almost unfair to single him out. Nonetheless, he’s a first round draft pick who is expected to produce at the pro level. Benjamin will need to fine-tune a number of his skills if he hopes to be a No. 1 receiver. His 6-foot-5 frame will be much easier to cover if his route running skills do not improve.
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