Carolina Panthers 2017 Team Needs
Carolina had a disappointing year coming off of the team’s second NFC Conference Championship. Poor roster management in key positions left Carolina behind the 8-ball after some injuries occurred along the offensive line and the team made an inexplicable decisions in allowing Josh Norman to leave via free agency.
Primary Needs: OT, CB, RB
Secondary Needs: DE, DT, S
Free Agency Strategy: With $42.5 million in salary cap space the team has the ability to resign both of its primary free agents. Kawann Short and Charles Johnson will both command top dollar but Short, in particular, is still young and among the best defensive tackles in the game. Johnson is a tougher call for the team as he is over 30 and more easily replaced with a rookie. If the team decides to delve into free agency for a veteran player a left tackle like Matt Kalil, or even Andrew Whitworth would be a nice addition. If the team looks at cornerbacks a younger up and coming player like AJ Bouye would be a nice addition as would more seasoned veterans like Leon Hall, Stephon Gilmore, or Prince Amukamara. Short, as expected, has received the Franchise Tag.
Draft Strategy: The Panthers are in pretty good shape with a top ten selection and five total selections in the first 107 choices. The draft is deep and the Panthers should be able to find players that can contribute immediately for them with those first 5 selections, should they keep them all. At 8 overall Leonard Fournette must be considered if he is available. There will also be very good value at cornerback with Teez Tabor, Marlon Humphrey, and Marshon Lattimore, being the best of a good crop of cornerbacks. Offensive tackle simply doesn’t have much value at 8 and the team might not be able to find a long term starter here without trading down in the first, or up into the late first for a player like Garett Bolles. A defensive end like Solomon Thomas would be a great choice for Carolina and Derek Barnett might also get some consideration at 8 overall. In the second round there will be plenty of talented cornerbacks to choose from still. A running back like Christian McCaffrey might slip into the early second round. Charles Harris is an option at defensive end.