What I am hoping is that the Panthers have moved on from our old blueprint of loading the front 7 with 1st round talent, and skimping on the o-line. it didn't work for Jon Fox, it didn't work for Rivera, and it won't work for the new coaching staff over the long run. Stopping the run and running the ball is how you get to 8-8ish, and 8-8 is football purgatory. You miss the playoffs, and you miss the top draft talent as well. Or you squeak into the playoffs by the skin of your teeth, and then get curb stomped, and draft even lower.
Fox ball is for losers. Fox ball is about beating up on bottom feeding teams by pushing their lines around, and then you claw your way to 8-8. No more.
The plan has to change starting with how we draft. We don't need an elite MLB to tackle the RB. A regular MLB will do just fine, and if he get's busted up (a certainty) it's not a big deal. Go get a young fresh one and dump him. Churn the LB position. Fresh legs, a willingness to destroy their body, financially broke, good football IQ, these are the LBs we need for the new blueprint. NO 1st round LBs. Hell no. I want young violent LBs who are dead broke and looking to make their fortune. If they make some mistakes, fug it. It's not rocket science, they'll pick it up or dump them and bring in a smarter guy. That being said, Isaiah Simmons is off the list.
I want to play zone defense. The reason is because we don't need elite shut down CBs to play zone. We need zone CBs who can be drafted lower. Having a shut down CB doesn't stop good teams from passing the ball to all the other weapons the field and running up the score, and with the rules the way they are any CB is going to get beaten. We'll play our zone with Bradberry and pair him with a later round rangy zone CB, and move Jackson to the slot. Jeffrey Okudah is off the list.
In order for our zone defense to be effective we must collapse the pocket so timing QBs (Drew Brees) can't eat us alive. The pocket must collapse, get Drew off his spot, and effect his follow through (see Brees injuring his hand this season). What works against Brees will work against all timing passers, and other teams as well. We must dethrone the Saints to make the payoffs, so a premium pick can be used to collapse the pocket or use speed to rush the passer. Derrick Brown is on the list.
Protecting the QB with a good o-line is common sense. You need a healthy QB, and passing is much easier in today's NFL, so put the ball in the air. The more time you can buy the QB the more wonderful rewards you'll rack up. Pass interference, guys breaking wide open, gassing the defense, it's just amazing when you can pass. This draft is NOT loaded with talented LTs. poo drops off a damn cliff by the time you're looking at Wirfs, who is too slow to play LT and might be too slow for RT as well and end up at OG. Tristan Wirfs is off the list. You know who isn't too slow? You know who is quick and silky smooth and can play LT no problem? Andrew Thomas is on the list.
In my blueprint a worthy offensive weapon is usually a good pick. We want to collect weapons like they they're going out of style, but we must do things in order. The problem is that we have yet to build our o-line, or d-line, and we can't put our QB in jeopardy for an otherwise smart and reasonable pick. It pains me to say this because I want him, but Jerry Jeudy is off the list.
We should trade down if Thomas and Brown are gone, and we would find multiple extremely interested partners due to the talent drop off after our pick. The trade down is an option due to our horrific need for players on both sides of the ball. We're terrible and we need a lot of help all over the field. If Thomas and Brown are gone, then I predict a trade down. We will then target a lesser OT at a lower more appropriate spot.