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  1. I have gathered the data. I have crunched the numbers. I have applied our proprietary Huddle Algorithm. Now, without further ado, the Official 2015 Huddle Season Prediction The Good News Cam Newton is as healthy as he has been since 2011. Not many people are discussing this, but it remains the biggest factor on the Panthers 2015 season prospects throughout the entire team. A healthy Cam Newton is good for a few wins on his own, even if the rest of the offense is not clicking. The Panthers offensive line appears to be greatly improved over the start of last season. Mike Shula's passing attack requires a bit more time than many other passing attacks in the NFL, this offensive line should be able to provide it. This is a vertical passing attack, not a west coast dink and dunk. Pro Tip: Panthers rookie Daryl Williams will be starting more sooner than later. He will quietly be the Panthers best 2015 draft selection. Running backs are no longer a concern on this team. Last season we saw undrafted rookie Darren Reaves actually start a game due to injuries. Reaves did not even make it as far as training camp this season, that tells you how much this group has improved. Stewart, Artis-Payne, and Wegher are all capable of carrying a full load of snaps on their shoulders. This is the best running back depth the Panthers have had in many seasons. The Panthers now have the most talented and most complete linebackers corps in the NFL. The addition of first rounder Shaq Thompson has solidified that fact. The linebackers are the biggest reason the Panthers were able to pull off a victory against Arizona in the playoffs last season. They are improved since then, which is a scary notion for the rest of the league. The Bad News You knew it was coming, so here it is. The loss of Kelvin Benjamin is a tough one. The Panthers wide receiver corps are just not as talented without him, especially in the red zone where the Panthers offense struggles the most. Rookie Devin Funchess has not yet shown the ability to use his size to his advantage against NFL corners. Ted Ginn and Jerricho Cotchery are currently the two best other options. Not good. Depth at corner is razor thin. Josh Norman, Peanut Tillman, and Bene Benwikere are a stout starting lineup. All three, however, have already been injured at one point or another since the start of camp. The Panthers need help here and will most likely be bringing in an additional corner soon. Don't underestimate the Star Loutelei foot injury. His foot flared up once the pads were put on in practice, which was a full 7 months after his surgery. Prepare to see Star off and on throughout the season. Colin Cole and Kyle Love are solid backups, but they are no Star. Special teams, and particularly punt coverage, remains a concern. This group looked less than stellar in preseason after a dismal 2014 season. There will be more than one game this season where a punt return could be the difference in the game. Conclusion The 2015 Panthers squad is built to win on the road. With a solid defense and running game, they will be able to slow the game down and run the clock. This quiets the away crowds and halts any momentum the home team may develop. Cam Newton's athleticism will make up for many passing plays gone awry. His impromptu scrambling will be the difference once again. For the past two seasons, the Panthers offense would have ranked near last place without his heroics. The Panthers defense will rank in the top 5 when it is all said and done this year. 2015 Panthers Record Prediction 11 wins 5 losses NFC South Title View full article
  2. Over the coming weeks I will be comparing Carolina Panthers roster units from today and exactly one year ago. First up, the Carolina Panthers Offensive Line..... View full article
  3. Now that the Carolina Panthers offseason workouts are complete, here is my projected roster lineup based on first hand observations and reps received. Offense - 26 Quarterback - 2 Cam Newton Derek Anderson Running Back - 4 Jonathan Stewart Fozzy Whitaker Cameron Artis-Payne Jordan Todman Fullback - 1 Mike Tolbert Tight End - 3 Greg Olsen Ed Dickson Brandon Williams Wide Receiver - 6 Kelvin Benjamin Devin Funchess Corey Brown Ted Ginn Brenton Bersin Jerricho Cotchery Offensive Line - 10 Michael Oher Andrew Norwell Ryan Kalil Trai Turner Mike Remmers Jonathan Martin Daryl Williams Amini Silatolu Brian Folkerts Nate Chandler Defense - 24 Defensive Line - 8 Charles Johnson Star Lotulelei Kawaan Short Frank Alexander Kony Ealy Colin Cole Dwan Edwards Mario Addison Linebacker - 5 Thomas Davis Luke Kuechly Shaq Thompson Adarius Glanton David Mayo Safety - 5 Roman Harper Tre Boston Kurt Coleman Dean Marlowe Colin Jones Corners - 6 Josh Norman Bene Benwikere Charles Tillman Melvin White Carrington Byndom Teddy Williams Special Teams - 3 Kicker - Graham Gano Punter - Brad Nortman Long Snapper - JJ Jansen Practice Squad - 10 Lee Ward Garry Peters Damiere Byrd Brandon Wegher Terry Redden Martin Wallace David Foucault Rakim Cox Marcus Lucas Brian Blechen Notes: Panthers keep one less linebacker and one additional safety due to popularity of "Buffalo" package. Glanton currently higher on depth chart than Klein.CB Teddy Williams retained mostly for Special Teams abilities. Joe Webb not retained due to Cam Newton's improved health and other special teams additions added in offseason. All draft picks on regular roster until Gettleman shows otherwise. Nate Chandler retained for backup RT/G role. Versatility gets him a jersey. Brian Folkerts / Chris Scott position up in the air with Remmers taking backup center snaps. Folkerts as the only listed backup center on roster gets the spot for now. This is, by far, the most difficult year to make cuts to the roster in recent memory. Talent level is up, good players have to be released due to the numbers. Other teams will be signing cut Panthers players. View full article
  4. Ok folks, one week to go. Much has changed in April, and the draft somehow seems to have gotten even more difficult to predict. I can't remember a draft where such question marks remained at picks 10 and below. Picking a single pick per round seems pointless. As such, I have decided to give you my top 2 picks for rounds 1-3, with a few other possibilities thrown in. Round 1 Andrus Peat - OT - Stanford - At 6'7 330 pounds this hog mollie could anchor the offensive line for years to come. This would put two Stanford tackles on the Panthers roster this year. Landon Collins - S - Bama - Hard hitting run stuffing safety that could make Roman Harper expendable. Collins was my original first round mock selection. He fell off due to wide receivers falling to the Panthers. I think he may be there now. Other possibilities: Shaq Thompson, DJ Humphries Round 2 Preston Smith - DE - Miss St - Panthers liked Smith at the Senior Bowl, and we all know Gettleman loves him some defensive ends. Smith has the frame and the motor to develop with Kony Ealy as a couple of solid defensive ends for the next 5 years. Devin Smith - WR - Ohio State - 27 yards per reception. I repeat, 27 yards per reception at Ohio State. Could be a solid #2 for the Panthers. Would be the second best receiver on the roster day 1 of OTA's. Other possibilities: Cedric Ogbuehi, Jake Fisher, Breshad Perriman Round 3 Devin Funchess - TE/WR - Michigan - Has been buzzing on the huddle lately, and for good reason. Many compare him to Kelvin Benjamin. Having Funchess, Benjamin, and Olsen on the field together would create a lot of opportunities against teams with smaller corners. Justin Hardy - WR - East Carolina - Hardy has impressed every team he has met with, including the Panthers. He may have worked himself up to a 3rd round selection. Skilled player that fills a need. It doesn't hurt that he also brings a built in local fan base. Other Possibilities: Duke Johnson, Jacoby Glenn
  5. Until the NFL announces the 2015 compensatory picks during the NFL owners meeting, I will only be mocking the picks the Panthers have at this point without speculating on how many they may have. Hopefully they can pick up at least an additional fifth rounder. Round 4 Tyler Lockett - WR/PR - Kansas ST The Panthers address their long term punt return issues in the 4th round with this selection. Lockett could be the best punt returner in the draft. He could drop to the late 3rd / early 4th due to concerns over his size. The Panthers may need to trade up to grab him. Good college production and a solid combine performance keeps him from dropping further. Would also compete immediately as a slot receiver. Has quick first steps to get separation. Known as a student of the game with high football IQ. Quality route runner. Would love to see him develop chemistry with Cam Newton. This pick could change should Ginn or another free agent punt returner be signed by the Panthers. Round 5 Lynden Trail - DE - Norfolk St Lynden Trail is a raw NFL project with tremendous upside. Dave Gettleman won't be able to pass up this chance to discover a late round starting defensive end for the Panthers. Gettleman has also shown a willingness to take on projects if the physical upside is there. 6'7 and 270 pounds he has the frame to compete at this level eventually as a defensive end but could contribute immediately on special teams. Look for the Panthers to have him put on ten more pounds through their training regimen. This kid is pure athlete, can also play tight end. Long story short, Gettleman won't be able to stop himself from taking Trail late in the 5th.
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