Joe person speculates...
The Panthers have begun to replenish the wideout position, but the tight ends and running backs figure to be featured prominently in 2014 – as they were in Mike Shula’s first season as offensive coordinator.
Shula is said to want to use more “12” personnel this year – one back, two tight ends and two receivers.
Fourth-year quarterback Cam Newton seems most comfortable running two-tight end sets. During his rookie season, when he passed for 4,051 yards to break Peyton Manning’s rookie record (since broken by Andrew Luck), Newton had the luxury of throwing to two pass-catching tight ends in Olsen and Jeremy Shockey.
The past two seasons Olsen hasn’t had a wing man.
But the Panthers added a potential No. 2 tight end last week when they signed Ed Dickson, who caught 54 passes three seasons ago in Baltimore. They previously re-signed fullback/tight end Richie Brockel and acquired blocking tight end Mike McNeill.
And then there’s the tight end/basketball forward/bodybuilder whom Newton calls ‘Swole Bones’ – Brandon Williams, the former Oregon tight end and small-college basketball player who remains something of a project.
But all that tight end inventory and well-paid running back depth won’t matter much if the Panthers don’t have wideouts consistently catching passes and stretching the field vertically – as Williams noted on his NFL Network appearance.
It's pretty much universally accepted that the Panthers will use at least one high draft pick on a wide receiver. Some have suggested that this is where the Panthers might "double dip" as they did at defensive tackle last season.
But what if the team believes one highly picked receiver is enough given the dual threats they now believe they have at TE?
Or suppose for a moment that one of the top three picks is actually not a wide receiver, but a top pass catching tight end instead?
Could this be part of the theory behind why the team downplays the need for a 'number one' type receiver?
Is it possible that after a high early pick on a receiver or a tight end, the team will focus on other positions like O-Line and secondary?
So the big question then: Do you believe that going back to having dual passing threats at TE with Olsen and Ed Dickson /B Williams / Draft Pick will allow Newton to return to his earlier form as a more prolific passer?
Do you believe it enough that you think waiting till the later rounds for a receiver (in a deep receiver draft) is acceptable?