Free Agency saw the Panthers lose starting guard Andrew Norwell and Star Lotulelei but were only able to replace Lotulelei with Dontari Poe. With the 2018 NFL Draft just around the corner here is a look at the Carolina Panthers Team Needs heading into the draft.
Carolina Panthers Team Needs
Losing Andrew Norwell to the Jaguars this offseason has left a major hole on the interior of the Panthers offensive line. Finding a day one replacement is a must if they plan to keep Cam Newton upright this season.
The re-signing of Julius Peppers lowers the immediate need at the defensive end position. But the time is now for the Panthers to find their next great pass rusher to add to the young depth of Bryan Cox and Daeshon Hall, while learning on the job to eventually replace Peppers.
With expected signing Bashaun Breeland failing his physical and the team trading Daryl Worley, the already bare cabinet of cornerbacks is looking even worse. The team needs to grab a top tier cornerback in this year’s draft to slot in opposite of promising James Bradberry, possibly in the first round with a prospect like Jaire Alexander or Carlton Davis.
Torrey Smith was brought in through trade to alleviate some of the shortcomings of the receiver group Carolina fielded in 2017. Look for improvement from Devin Funchess and Chris Samuel in 2018 but the team needs to add more pieces for Cam Newton to work with early in the draft, most likely on day two.
Finding a young leader to man the safety position in a defense backfield that continues a youthful overhaul would go a long way to turning a weakness into a strength. The Panthers would pounce if somehow Derwin James was to fall to them in the first round, but more than likely look for them to try to catch lighting in a bottle in the middle rounds to shore up the position.
The team took Christian McCaffrey in the top ten in last year’s draft giving them one of the most dangerous dual threat backs in the NFL. However, the overdue release of Jonathan Stewart leaves the team with a hole behind McCaffrey for a punishing back who can chew up the middle of the field. The Panthers could look to grab Bo Scarborough late on day three to compete for the job.
Finding depth behind a unit that consists of Shaq Thompson and Luke Kuechly who have missed time throughout their careers as well as an aging stalwart in Thomas Davis. Finding a flexible prospect who can step into multiple spots and be groomed to eventually replace Davis should be a priority for the front office.