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TROJANPANTHER


Joined: 30 Apr 2007
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Location: NM
PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 1:44 am    Post subject: Early Offseason Prediction/Discussion Reply with quote

Well we are officially in the best season we've had since 2008 and, even though the season is long from over, I think it's safe to say we know what positions need to be addressed in the upcoming offseason.

So how about we get a thread going with team needs and possible fixes for those needs? I'll start with a summary of my thoughts and an extremely early guess at a draft, with the minimal scouting I have done so far.

As I see it right now the needs across the board for this team stand as:

Team Needs:

- WR:

I think it has become apparent this year that father time has finally caught up with Steve Smith, as much as it pains us, and is probably best suited to the slot at this point in his career. LaFell is a solid #2, and I expect him to resign, but he's not going to ever be a guy that strikes fear into a defense. Ginn has be better than expected, but he cannot be trusted to be a full time outside receiver, IMO. With that being said, I don't see a way that we do not wind up with a new player to step into the #1 role, whether that is through the draft or free agency, this upcoming offseason.
The name that constantly gets brought up with us is Hakeem Nicks due to the NC and Giants connection, but I personally think that whoever winds up with him will be greatly disappointed as he has been a shell of himself this year, and it looks like his speed has been taken with his array of injuries. Other than Nicks, however, the free agent pool looks like it shall be relatively barren, and doesn't have any potential number ones excluding him.
It is for this reason that I think the first pick in the upcoming draft will be spent on a WR. This years class is considered much better than last year by all accounts and there will be several options in the first round. Fortunately (unfortunately?), it seems we will not be picking in to top half of the draft this year so we will most likely miss out on this years top man in Sammy Watkins from Clemson, however there will still be prospects such as Mike Evans from aTm, and Marquise Lee from USC available when our pick rolls around, and either of those two would give Cam a WR to work with for years to come.

__________________________________________

- O-line (Starters and Depth)

O-line is another area where age and lack of attention is starting to catch up on us. Other than center, and LG if Silatolu comes back strong, practically every spot could use an upgrade. Much like Smith, Jordan Gross seems to slowing down as well, and should probably be put back on the right side of the line. Byron Bell has played admirably for an UDFA, but he gets beaten as many times as he plays well. As for RG, that is a veritable train wreck. Kugibila remains an enigma until he can get on the field, if he ever does.
Bell is a RFA so I expect him to be back next year at a reasonable price. Once again, I do not see us paying for a high priced free agent to take over the a spot such as Brandon Albert, Instead I believe we will probably be pick up a reasonably priced free agent, while going to the draft and using two picks, and then letting them all battle for a spot,most likely RG. This approach is similar to the strategies employed in the secondary and for the DT position, and has been successful up to this point.
One other option would be to use a second rounder on a LT, move Gross to RT, slide Bell into RG and letting the rest of the players battle for the LG spot. Following the WR pick in the first, this would be the choice I would make in round 2. With one pick, the entire line could be upgraded.

___________________________________

- CB

CB was the position we all thought was going to be our achilles heel going into the season. All though no one player is having a breakout season, this group had been solid, and has played above their skill level as a whole. Every player has had his ups and downs, but they have been primarily ups, for the most part.
This is a position where I think it will stay generally status quo. Florence will most likely be gone, but I expect another cheap veteran to take his place, and then possibly a mid rounder. Captain is a FA, and frankly I think he will be in essentially the same situation he was in last year. Even if he does leave, which I think is about a 50/50 shot at this point, his exit is unlikely to move this up to the kind of need that OL and WR are.

_____________________________________

- DE? (Depending on the future of Hardy)

If Hardy re-signs with us, which I fully expect him to, this is a position which does not need to be touched, and needs no further explanation.
If he leaves, however, this becomes as crucial of a need as WR and OL, and probably is one of the first two picks in the draft. A veteran stop-gap is an option, but at the price you pay for a Justin Tuck or Jared Allen, I don't see the value being there.

_____________________________________

- #2 TE

The #1 TE spot is secured in Greg Olsen, which is not in dispute by anyone. What I have noticed this year, though, is that Olsen looks considerably slower than in years past. This is partially due to injury but it has made me think that this team could benefit for a more athletic presence at TE to add to the passing game.
Now I know what you're thinking, we have Ben Hartsock, the number one rated TE in Football! I know, I know it sounds crazy but let me finish. With two TE we can do more expansion and contraction that Brian Billick loves so much, and we can do so with someone who can be both a size and height mismatch, even if they are not as proficient in run blocking. The way I see it, there can never be too many weapons at Cam's disposal, and having a real receiving threat at TE would only make this offense even more dynamic. Additionally, what the hell happened to Brandon Williams? Ever since being touted as this awesome weapon in the preseason, he has been completely MIA, and I'm not sure if he's even gotten to play in a game.
As for where to find this TE, I think this is another spot for the draft. Although I would not be totally opposed to a luxury pick within the first two rounds, I think 3-5 is a better option. There always seems to be some athletic TE's who last until the later rounds due to lack of blocking skills or basketball conversion, and maybe this can be the year we can finally grab one of our own.

_________________________________

- OLB

This would be another depth pick as I think Blackburn and Klein have a rotation that leans more heavily to Klein as the year progresses. As such it would only be worth a mid to late rounder.

_________________________________________

- QB

Only need a backup. Anderson's fine, draft pick is fine. Either way.

_______________________________________

Draft:

1.) Marquise Lee, WR, USC:



A truly dynamic threat at WR, who is only matched by Samy Watkins in this department. Although he lacks the size of Watkins or Evans, his quickness and route running will lead him to gain separation against defenders. Injury will push him down and he will end up going later than he should, and as such he will land right in our laps, despite being the consensus number one a little over a year ago, just like Star.

Other options: Mike Evans WR - aTm, Cyrus Kouandijo OT - Alabama, Eric Ebron TE - North Carolina.

2.) Antonio Richardson, OT, Tennessee:



Gettleman says he wants hog-mollies, well right here is a hog-molly. Richardson is 6-6, 330, with long arms. He's an excellent in run blocking, and good in pass blocking, and with NFL coaching could be brought up to play at a very high level. Right now the only issue that could come up with him is weight and one past knee surgery, but for right now he is healthy and in shape. This is a guy who could easily go in the first when it's all said and done, but for right now he's a second rounder and he would look mighty fine in Electric Blue and Black.

Other Options: Donte Moncrief WR - Ole Miss, Jace Amaro TE - Texas Tech, Cedric Ogbuehi OT - Texas A&M

3.) DeAnthony Thomas, Offensive Weapon, Oregon



After round two I used another poster's mock to make picks ruling out the prospects he had going prior to the Panthers' picks. The electric "Black Mamba" dropped all the way to the 3rd round, and I knew I had to trade up. He only went two picks prior ours, so I think it would only cost one of our fifth rounders. Although we have a log-jam at RB, which will probably be relieved by the release of DeAngelo Williams, Thomas would not be used as a RB in the traditional sense. He would be used as runner, receiver, in addition to returns. One also might argue that Kenjon Barner represents a similar option, but anyone who has seen these two play knows that Thomas is on a whole other level than Barner is almost every aspect. Although I wanted a TE for this pick, the value simply did not add up.

4.) Seantrel Henderson, OT, Miami:



Another hog-molly who can act as a back up now and be molded to replace Gross upon his retirement / release.

5.) Gabe Holmes, TE, Purdue:



A TE with good height and speed, who, prior to his injury at the start of the year,was Purdue's best option on offense.

6.) Jeff Matthews, QB, Cornell:



A small school QB, with a good arm and accuracy, and decent mobility. Has the intelligence you want to see in a backup QB.
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Last edited by TROJANPANTHER on Wed Nov 06, 2013 1:50 pm; edited 1 time in total
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boondock


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your assessment of the team needs is very thorough. I enjoyed the read.

The only issue I have with your draft is DeAnthony Thomas, mainly because I think he would get caught in a log jam at RB and not fully produce, unless we plan on moving him to a slot or flanker type role, similar to Dexter McCluster, which could happen if our WR situation does not get fixed. I'd much rather continue to bolster the offensive line if no other WR options are available.
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TROJANPANTHER


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 1:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

boondock wrote:
Your assessment of the team needs is very thorough. I enjoyed the read.

The only issue I have with your draft is DeAnthony Thomas, mainly because I think he would get caught in a log jam at RB and not fully produce, unless we plan on moving him to a slot or flanker type role, similar to Dexter McCluster, which could happen if our WR situation does not get fixed. I'd much rather continue to bolster the offensive line if no other WR options are available.


I figured that would be the biggest point of contention in that mock.

DAT is gonna be most effectively used like a Sproles or a McCluster, and that's what I had in mind when I put him there. He could be extremely effective on returns while also getting about ten to fifteen touches on offense, whether that is through the ground or the air, is irrelevant simply because he is so effective in space.

If he gets forced into being a traditional style HB his talents will go to waste.
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Panthers11


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 6:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My biggest question is if Gettleman will address WR or OL more thoroughly. I'm not even sure of my answer.
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Grizzly224


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 6:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I really think that Gettleman looks to make huge improvements to the OL with the draft. He found what appears to be two great players for our DL this past year and I think he does the same for the OL in 2014.

I don't think he ignores the WR position but I see him looking at FA to address it.
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Toughguy77


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 7:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great post. I agree with all but one of your draft picks. Jeff Matthews for Connor Shaw, kids a winner.

I really hope that Gettleman address our OL needs, but at the same time he needs to mirror the picks with with WR help (not to a T but y'all get it). If we enter and end this off season with no huge weapons on offense I will be extremely disappointed. That being said, with the defense we have now and the upgrades on O we can make during the off season, this team is going to be SCARY good.
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fraziafraze07


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 8:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't think that Richardson will be available when we pick in the 2nd.
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TROJANPANTHER


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 9:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fraziafraze07 wrote:
I don't think that Richardson will be available when we pick in the 2nd.


That pick is probably the most hopeful pick. But if you switch him and Lee, it could also be a pretty believable scenario.
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rjkilla


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2013 11:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i really want ebron somehow...that dude with olsen would be amazing
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boondock


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 12:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

rjkilla wrote:
i really want ebron somehow...that dude with olsen would be amazing


I actually like the idea of Ebron with Olsen. I think they would make phenomenal pairing, giving Cam 2 weapons at the TE spot.
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PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 1:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

boondock wrote:
rjkilla wrote:
i really want ebron somehow...that dude with olsen would be amazing


I actually like the idea of Ebron with Olsen. I think they would make phenomenal pairing, giving Cam 2 weapons at the TE spot.


Ebron and Olsen are equally dangerous split out wide also. Ebron maybe a little more with his YAC ability. we def need a top notch pass catcher tho
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cpanthers178990


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 5:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have a big belief(Just a gut feeling) we will sign Hakeem Nicks next offseason, Gettlemagic has ties with NY and Nicks has Ties with Carolina, it may not change the fact we would still need a true #1 in case Nicks is unreliable, but it may effect the way we attack the draft.
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TROJANPANTHER


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 5:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cpanthers178990 wrote:
I have a big belief(Just a gut feeling) we will sign Hakeem Nicks next offseason, Gettlemagic has ties with NY and Nicks has Ties with Carolina, it may not change the fact we would still need a true #1 in case Nicks is unreliable, but it may effect the way we attack the draft.


If we sign Nicks I will be very disappointed, to say the least.
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cpanthers178990


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TROJANPANTHER wrote:
cpanthers178990 wrote:
I have a big belief(Just a gut feeling) we will sign Hakeem Nicks next offseason, Gettlemagic has ties with NY and Nicks has Ties with Carolina, it may not change the fact we would still need a true #1 in case Nicks is unreliable, but it may effect the way we attack the draft.


If we sign Nicks I will be very disappointed, to say the least.



Even just as a #2 WR?
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TROJANPANTHER


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 6:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

cpanthers178990 wrote:
TROJANPANTHER wrote:
cpanthers178990 wrote:
I have a big belief(Just a gut feeling) we will sign Hakeem Nicks next offseason, Gettlemagic has ties with NY and Nicks has Ties with Carolina, it may not change the fact we would still need a true #1 in case Nicks is unreliable, but it may effect the way we attack the draft.


If we sign Nicks I will be very disappointed, to say the least.



Even just as a #2 WR?


Yeah, because he's going to cost #1 money. I also don't think he'd be any more effective than LaFell is. Guy gets no separation anymore. If this was three years ago I would have killed to get him, but not anymore.
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