The Round-Up: Carolina Panthers Edition

When it comes to the Carolina Panthers, they are a very shaky team. The team dominated the league in 2015, producing a 15-1 record to show for it, however they never let it materialize into a Lombardi trophy. Having not one a championship in their 24 previous years in the league, they failed to do so that year in 2015, falling to the Broncos 10-24. The following year they did much worse, going 1-5 in the beginning of the season to finish 6-10 in 2016. They jumped back in 2017 going 11-5, however they lost in the wildcard round to the New Orleans Saints 26-31. In 2018, the Panthers showed promise going 6-2 entering mid-season, yet after the 21-52 slaughter against the Steelers, the team could not rebound, finishing 7-9. Since 2013, the Panthers seemed to convey a nice winning tread in each odd numbered year. While this does not mean much, there is still a pattern, and if it is right, the Panthers could possibly return to the playoffs again… but will they? Let’s take a look at their offseason moves.

Key Departures:

The Panthers figured that if they wanted success for the future, they had to rid the team of the athletic-elderly. The team finally parted ways with long-time linebacker Thomas Davis. Along with him, they released safety Mike Adams, linebacker David Mayo, cornerback Captain Munnerlyn, tackle Matt Kalil, runningback Fozzy Whittaker, and receiver Devin Funchess. Along with those moves, center Ryan Kalil and soon-to-be Hall of Fame passrusher Julius Peppers retired. Now comes the offseason where the team has to address these new holes on the team.

Key Acquisitions:

To begin free agency, the Panthers go aggressive, snagging star center Matt Paradis to replace Ryan Kalil and linebacker Bruce Irvin to begin their 3-4 set. Later in the offseason, the Panthers add receiver Chris Hogan from New England to help in their pass game after losing Devin Funchess, Interior passrusher Gerald McCoy from Tampa Bay and, very recently, Tre Boston from Arizona to solidify their secondary.

Carolina Panthers Draft:

The Panthers opted to go for Pepper’s replacement in the 1st round, adding edge rusher Brian Burns from Florida State. This will help the rotation involving him, Bruce Irvin, and Mario Addison. Other key picks include left tackle Greg Little, who was highly regarded as one of the best tackles in the draft, Will Grier, Cam Newtons ideal backup who was also top 5 in his positional rankings for the draft with some draft boards ranking him higher than 6th overall pick, and linebacker Christian Miller, who will likely serve as the backup behind Shaq Thompson and Luke Keuchly.

Final Notes:

The Panthers are going all in for this season, adding big name players who will most likely be instant starters, and going for a younger roster. The team wants to get more aggressive on defense, moving to a 3-4 package to give interior players Kawaan Short, Gerald McCoy, and Dontari Poe chances to plug up the run, get to the QB themselves, or help Brian Burns and Bruce Irvin do so. They figured that the safety position needed help, bringing back Kaepernick’s right hand man Eric Reid and safety Tre Boston. Cam Newton should hopefully get back to his old and swaggy ways after reports of his injured shoulder in 2018, and this dangerous rotation in the pass game can help him do so along with the much improved offensive line.

Record Prediction:

From all the information we have, the Panthers will be predicted to go 11-5.

Week 1 Vs. Rams L | Week 2 Vs. Buccaneers W | Week 3 @ Cardinals W | Week 4 @ Texans W | Week 5 Vs. Jaguars W | Week 6 @ Buccaneers (London) W | Week 7 Bye | Week 8 @ 49ers W | Week 9 Vs. Titans L | Week 10 @ Packers W | Week 11 Vs. Falcons W | Week 12 @ Saints L | Week 13 Vs. Redskins W | Week 14 @ Falcons L | Week 15 Vs. Seahawks W | Week 16 @ Colts L | Week 17 Vs. Saints W