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Which Positions Have The Panthers Improved Most This Off Season


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https://www.yahoo.com/sports/positions-carolina-panthers-improved-most-123522234.html

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The Panthers will resume their OTA workouts tomorrow, taking the next step towards the 2021 season. June 1 is a significant date on the NFL calendar for a number of reasons, so now’s a good time to reflect on where the team is heading into the summer months.
 
For Carolina, this offseason has been all about upgrading a young roster with an eye on fundamentally changing how they can play defense. Here is a look at the three positions that the Panthers have improved most since last season.
 
Cornerback
 
Lost: Rasul Douglas, Corn Elder
 
Gained: Jaycee Horn, Keith Taylor, Rashaan Melvin, A.J. Bouye
 
Clearly, the No. 1 priority on general manager Scott Fitterer’s list was upgrading what was an unreliable cornerback room in 2020. No longer having Elder at nickel may sting, but only if they don’t use their personnel right. After investing significant resources at the position, there’s more than enough firepower to go around, here.
 
In free agency, the Panthers picked up Bouye and Melvin – two solid veterans who may be past their prime but came on cheap, short-term deals. In the draft, Carolina added two rookies with Horn and Taylor – both long, physical, lanky Seattle type corners who can press.
 
If the plan is to start Horn and Bouye outside and slide Donte Jackson inside to cover the slot there’s a real chance this cornerback group could go from liability to strength. Putting that group out there together should enable defensive coordinator Phil Snow to be far more aggressive using man coverage following a zone-heavy 2020 campaign.
 
Linebacker
Lost: Tahir Whitehead, Adarius Taylor
 
Gained: Denzel Perryman, Haason Reddick, Frankie Luvu, Paddy Fisher
 
Another spot that got a nice boost was linebacker – both the inside and outside versions. Going from Whitehead as the starting Mike to Perryman might be the single-most impactful move the team makes this year defensively. At the very least, Perryman is a far more efficient tackler and light years ahead in coverage. If things don’t work out with Perryman or he gets injured again, they still have an excellent backup in Jermaine Carter.
 
Outside, the Panthers helped their pass rush by signing Reddick – who posted 12.5 sacks and 16 QB hits last season after moving out to the edge in Arizona. If he comes anywhere close to repeating those numbers, the one-year, $6 milllion deal he signed for will be a steal.
 
Tight end
Lost: Chris Manhertz
 
Gained: Dan Arnold, Tommy Tremble
 
Offensively, the Panthers made huge changes at quarterback, left tackle and wide receiver, but it remains to be seen if those moves have actually made them better. That said, on paper it’s pretty clear that Carolina is deeper at tight end compared to last year.
 
Manhertz may be one of the best blocking tight ends in the NFL. However, he’ll turn 30 in a couple weeks and most likely won’t be effective much longer. The Panthers should get an effective replacement with Tremble, who has been dubbed the best blocking tight end in college football. If he lives up to that billing, Manhertz won’t be missed.
 
Like the Reddick acquisition, signing Arnold for two years and $6 million could be another significant under-the-radar steal in free agency. Arnold posted four touchdowns and 438 yards for the Cards last year. Similar production would be a step up compared to what the Panthers have gotten from this spot since Greg Olsen’s foot injuries began in 2017.
 
 
Edited by KatsAzz
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Jeremy Chinn had a great rookie season and should have had more consideration for defensive rookie of the year. That said, it seems like the Panthers would like to play him more in the box but they don't have much depth at either safety spot nor is there anyone reliable enough to make that move more permanent for Chinn.

Juston Burris, Sam Franklin, Myles Hartsfield, and Kenny Robinson are all good role players but there are better options on the market. Bringing in another safety would be a huge help for not only Chinn but the defense as a whole.

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I agree. And I think we also big time improved WR.  Lost Samuel and gained David Moore, Terrace Marshall, and Shi Smith. 

And then there's QB....but that's probably more of a wait and see, but there are few who wouldn't say Sammy is an upgrade over Teddy, even among those who don't believe Darnold is the answer.

I'd like to think that DT and the OL were improved, esp. on the left side.

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4 minutes ago, rayzor said:

I agree. And I think we also big time improved WR.  Lost Samuel and gained David Moore, Terrace Marshall, and Shi Smith. 

And then there's QB....but that's probably more of a wait and see, but there are few who wouldn't say Sammy is an upgrade over Teddy, even among those who don't believe Darnold is the answer.

I'd like to think that DT and the OL were improved, esp. on the left side.

WR just depends on how quickly those guys get acquainted. Samuel was a very, very good weapon for us last year so I wouldn't be shocked if our WR corps wasn't a little worse this year just because his replacements don't produce like he did and/or are as consistent as he was last year. That could very well change in 2022 and beyond, however.

QB....well....higher ceiling than last year, way, way, way, WAAAAAAAAAAAY lower floor.

DL has been upgraded big time, IMO. Even losing Kerr, I think Fox and Jones and even Reddick make our pass rush potentially ferocious. That is arguably the most exciting unit on the team.

OL....TBD. I don't think the starters will be much better but I think we won't see the dramatic drop off once injuries start being an issue.

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13 minutes ago, kungfoodude said:

WR just depends on how quickly those guys get acquainted. Samuel was a very, very good weapon for us last year so I wouldn't be shocked if our WR corps wasn't a little worse this year just because his replacements don't produce like he did and/or are as consistent as he was last year. That could very well change in 2022 and beyond, however.

QB....well....higher ceiling than last year, way, way, way, WAAAAAAAAAAAY lower floor.

DL has been upgraded big time, IMO. Even losing Kerr, I think Fox and Jones and even Reddick make our pass rush potentially ferocious. That is arguably the most exciting unit on the team.

OL....TBD. I don't think the starters will be much better but I think we won't see the dramatic drop off once injuries start being an issue.

I can agree with all that, even the QB assessment. True boom or bust. It's a swing for the fences play that I am very glad we took. It wasn't a safe play and I think that's the thing I love about this the most. 

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Honestly, we don't know for sure if we've improved anywhere. That last season of Rivera's we were all ooohing and ahhhing over the big name defensive free agents we picked up in the offseason. And then the season rolled out and those old dudes played like they were happy with the paychecks and the opportunity to travel and sleep in late. 

We look better, on paper, if you read it the right way, but reality could be way different. Once again, that's why they don't give an offseason trophy. Still, I'm optimistic for our chances, but let's not make marriage plans before the second date.

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27 minutes ago, rayzor said:

I can agree with all that, even the QB assessment. True boom or bust. It's a swing for the fences play that I am very glad we took. It wasn't a safe play and I think that's the thing I love about this the most. 

I totally agree. The safer play would have been to keep Teddy and hope he improved. But he never seemed like a QB you could truly build around. 

Darnold is a high risk high reward. He could be terrible and if so we pick very high next year. BUT if he hits he could be the type of player you build around. 

IF he hits Joe Brady is the hottest coaching candidate on the market next year. If he doesn't well Tepper signed off on this move so we keep looking but our coaching staff is still stable. 

Some people might say it costs too much but we were not going to use that money on any other position that was more impactful to the team this year.

IMO this was such a good gamble no matter how it turns out.

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36 minutes ago, Jon Snow said:

The Panthers are playing with house money gambling on Darnold.  They literally have nothing to lose but a little time, which they would have had to give up anyway getting a rookie ready.

I just don't see a reason to fret over this QB thing just yet.  The team is getting a little stronger and deeper with every move.  It will take some time but the results will be noticable as they go along.  Barring a lot of injuries I think this team will embarrass other teams more than they get embarrassed.

I think you're right. As fans, most of us are in "win now" mode. As an organization under new management from top to bottom, they've got time to figure this out if they are taking the long view. Sam is super young. If he shows to be the guy and become perrenial winners and we get a ring, then this will have been about the best and smartest football move since the pats drafting Brady. 

If he blows up it just pushed the timeframe back a year and only cost us a 2nd round pick.

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24 minutes ago, CanadianCat said:

I totally agree. The safer play would have been to keep Teddy and hope he improved. But he never seemed like a QB you could truly build around. 

Darnold is a high risk high reward. He could be terrible and if so we pick very high next year. BUT if he hits he could be the type of player you build around. 

IF he hits Joe Brady is the hottest coaching candidate on the market next year. If he doesn't well Tepper signed off on this move so we keep looking but our coaching staff is still stable. 

Some people might say it costs too much but we were not going to use that money on any other position that was more impactful to the team this year.

IMO this was such a good gamble no matter how it turns out.

Agreed but I think it was a low risk, high reward gamble.

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1 hour ago, KatsAzz said:

Jeremy Chinn had a great rookie season and should have had more consideration for defensive rookie of the year. That said, it seems like the Panthers would like to play him more in the box but they don't have much depth at either safety spot nor is there anyone reliable enough to make that move more permanent for Chinn.

Juston Burris, Sam Franklin, Myles Hartsfield, and Kenny Robinson are all good role players but there are better options on the market. Bringing in another safety would be a huge help for not only Chinn but the defense as a whole.

I thought Rhules words suggested the opposite. They'd prefer to play him at safety but needed to utilize him at LB due to necessity 

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Simply losing Whitehead was a net positive on the LB corps.  I’m actually pretty excited about this CB group, but Jackson worries me.  I think he would be great in the slot, however, I remember reading something awhile back about him adamantly wanting to be on the outside.  I guess we’ll see what happens.  
 

As for QB, is truly an upgrade?  Who knows, but at least it’ll be more exciting.  I’m just along for the ride.  

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1 hour ago, rayzor said:

I think you're right. As fans, most of us are in "win now" mode. As an organization under new management from top to bottom, they've got time to figure this out if they are taking the long view. Sam is super young. If he shows to be the guy and become perrenial winners and we get a ring, then this will have been about the best and smartest football move since the pats drafting Brady. 

If he blows up it just pushed the timeframe back a year and only cost us a 2nd round pick.

That is exactly right and why we did it. We went for a strong arm because Teddy didn't have one. Did we overcompensate  and ignore the mental issues or did we think that the coaches could teach him in a hurry given what Brady did with Burrow in college.  And we got Horn to finally upgrade the corner position which is critical in this division. If we finally go to a more pressure defense with man press coverage I will be one of  Snow's biggest disciples.  I hate passive zones and predictable rushing schemes with no misdirection or overloads. Hopefully our staff are learning and borrowing the best of what they see to emulate. The NFL is a copycat league. Hopefully we are improving on both sides of the ball. It had been way too long since we made some noise. 2017.....  we are overdue.

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