2017 Carolina Panthers Preview

With the third team in the NFC South, I will be reviewing the Carolina Panthers. They had the definition of a Super Bowl hangover last season, as they went from 15-1 and an NFC title to 6-10 and the eighth pick in the draft. Talk about a tale of two seasons. However, as hangovers usually work, you end up remembering what you can be after a small, painful experience and get right back into the mix. In other words, don't forget about this team.


The first two selections were rather interesting in my opinion, and Carolina started out by drafting RB Christian McCaffrey. At this point, he will be backing up the veteran Jonathan Stewart, but should find himself in an important role. RB/WR Curtis Samuel is another player who can make big plays, and Carolina's offense looks more explosive already. They then selected G Taylor Moton in round two, and his role appears to look like it may start as a backup. DE Daeshon Hall is a depth move for an aging defensive end group, and he should get plenty of opportunities.


The biggest move was signing LT Matt Kalil to join his brother Ryan on the offensive line. They also brought in fellow Vikings CB Captain Munnerlyn and WR Charles Johnson, and both could play key roles. They also added Russell Shepard to the receiving group and S Mike Adams to the secondary in an attempt to improve their weaknesses. They also brought in former Carolina Panther Julius Peppers after an almost decade-long stint in the NFC North with Chicago and Green Bay.


T Mike Remmers went to Minnesota and essentially was traded for Matt Kalil. DE Kony Ealy was traded to New England for the draft pick that became G Taylor Moton. ILB AJ Klein and WR Ted Ginn Jr. went to the division rival New Orleans Saints, and three players ended up joining the Buffalo Bills: FB Mike Tolbert, WR Corey Brown and CB Leonard Johnson, Also, Paul Soliai is still available in free agency.


I'd have to say it is the group of linebackers still. With Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis at the position, it really doesn't matter who the third guy is as long as they remain healthy. Shaq Thompson, a third year pro, is the third guy and he has done a nice job alongside those two. The defensive tackle position and the offensive line also look to be in pretty good shape.


I'm not 100% sure about this one, but I think I dislike the group of corners more than the receivers. Sure, Captain Munnerlyn is here now, but he is immediately the top corner on this roster. James Bradberry and Daryl Worley are the second and third corners, and they are both second year players. While they were okay last season, I just don't think this group is a strength by any means.


QB Cam Newton, RB Jonathan Stewart, DT Kawann Short, ILB Luke Kuechly, OLB Thomas Davis

How many people do you think can talk about the Panthers this long without mentioning Cam Newton? Not many outside of Carolina, but he is the heart and soul of the offense. While Cam is the heart and soul, Jonathan Stewart is the bread and butter, and with a potentially great defense again, running the football remains important here. Davis and Kuechly are the two best players on the defense, and Kawann Short was signed to an $80 million contract for a reason, after accumulating 22 sacks in four seasons.


Something about this team says third place in this division, and I know they probably will be better, but this division is tough. With that said, they will be the best .500 team in the NFL, and the best third place team as well. I just can't figure out the order for the rest of the division.