The Carolina Panthers might be having the single worst offseason in NFL history right now. This 2013 playoff team is dangerously close to falling back into the depths of the league and being in play for a very high pick in 2015. The Panthers have plenty of holes, some of them self-inflicted, and have done virtually nothing in Free Agency to fix the problem. The OL, WR corps, and defensive secondary are screaming for help...but thus far, there hasn't been much there. I have found myself in a pretty bad situation:
OL - The Panthers lost LT Jordan Gross to retirement, and may still lose LG Travelle Wharton for the same reason. We had an available option in OT Bruce Campbell, but have yet to make any kind of headway there in re-signing him. I could replace RG Nate Chandler with a subway turnstile and at least make some money from an entry fee before giving up a sack. The only set position here is Ryan Kalil at C. At this point, I might as well post job openings on Cat Scratch Reader.
WR - It's not that jettisoning an aging and overpaid WR is a bad move...it's when you have absolutely nothing else on your roster that people start to question your sanity. When we cut Steve Smith, it literally had some fans crying (btw, kudos to Steve Smith for reaching out to this kid). What does Ron Rivera have at WR now? Well, basically a who's who of who cares that features Jason Avant, Tiquan Underwood, and Jericho Cotchery as the top targets. Is TO still looking for a job?
DB - The Panthers secondary was pretty tough last year. However, we have lost starters Mike Mitchell, Quintin Mikell, and Drayton Florence, as well as the #3 CB Captain Munnerlyn. To replace these quality players, we have brought in Roman Harper...pending him not going to jail, Thomas DeCoud, and Antoine Cason...which would have been a great haul 3 years ago. If you ever catch me trying to sell these three as an answer to talent needs, call Jack Bauer, because I must have been kidnapped and forced to provide that statement by terrorists.
"Riverboat" Ron Rivera has been on the hot seat for a while now, and I guess this is one way to put that to rest...though if I were him, I might not include this season on any future resumes. And my (relatively) new FO may secretly be a bunch of Falcons fans that have infiltrated the organization and are giving me the worst advice ever (the next logical step from Pioli's Spygate would be Sabotagegate). What have we managed to get done this offseason? Well, we managed to pay Greg Hardy a lot of money, and...and...and...make Steve Smith seem like the nice guy?
So what do the Panthers do with all of these huge holes? In truth, there really isn't any pick at OL, WR, or DB that could be considered "wrong" (which almost makes me think that a Kicker might be the way to go).
With the 28th pick of the 2014 NFL Draft, the Carolina Panthers select...
Virginia OT/G Morgan Moses
This pick comes down to value and availability. The drop off in talent at the DB and WR positions is a lot greater than it is on the OL. Morgan Moses is a potential starter at both OG and OT which does two things for the Panthers. First, obviously, it gives us a starter that is desperately needed. Second, it gives us the ability to take the best available OG or OT later on in the draft. That is a much better position to be in than having to take a certain position even though the guy might not be as highly rated on the board.
Moses is a powerhouse, man-mountain. He has the kind of strength we need on the OL to help our trio of talented RBs get some space to move the ball up the field. Running behind Moses will help take the pressure off of Cam Newton, which should help some with the void of talent at WR. Moses isn't the answer to all of our problems, but he's a start.
But what about the positions I passed up?
Well, we'll start at WR. Kelvin Benjamin is probably the best prospect on the board, but he is a complete boom or bust pick, and without a #1 WR on the roster already, I'm not going to take that chance. I could reach a little on Allen Robinson or Donte Moncrief, but I don't feel confident in either of them having the same immediate impact that I get from Moses. I would rather take a WR in the 2nd rd that has a talent floor that I'm more confident in. Getting a Martavis Bryant, Cody Latimer or Jordan Matthews in the 2nd rd carries a lot smaller risk.
At DB ... well, the top end talent is pretty much gone anyways. Hasean Clinton-Dix and Calvin Pryor are both off the board at S while Gilbert, Dennard and even Fuller are gone at CB. That leaves me with a choice between Jimmie Ward and Jason Verrett. I'm not going to over-value Ward just because this year's S class is weak at the top end, and while Verrett is talented, he's simply too small to be a reliable option on the outside against today's top end WRs. Julio Jones, Marqes Colston, and Vincent Jackson would eat him alive.
Moses it is.
- Houston Texans (kuchiefs13) - South Carolina DE / LB Jadeveon Clowney
- St. Louis Rams (chiefsman7588) - Auburn OT Greg Robinson
- Jacksonville Jaguars (Steve The Hedge) - Louisville QB Teddy Bridgewater
- Cleveland Browns (NigerianNightmare) - Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel
- Oakland Raiders (seein'red) - Clemson WR Sammy Watkins
- Atlanta Falcons (chiefstruelove) - Texas A&M WR Mike Evans
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers (kswanson) - North Carolina TE Eric Ebron
- Minnesota Vikings (kcsno56) - Buffalo OLB Khalil Mack
- Buffalo Bills (Aesthist) - Central Florida QB Blake Bortles
- Detroit Lions (BuckTheFroncos) - Oklahoma State CB Justin Gilbert
- Tennessee Titans (mrchiefs101) - Alabama S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix
- New York Giants (Akr_baby) - Pittsburgh DT Aaron Donald
- St. Louis Rams (chiefsman7588) - Louisville S Calvin Pryor
- Chicago Bears (Ben Mitchum) - Michigan State CB Darqueze Dennard
- Pittsburgh Steelers (SacramentoDrew) - Texas A&M LT Jake Matthews
- Dallas Cowboys (LocoGonzo) - Florida State DT Timmy Jernigan
- Baltimore Ravens (Ben S) - Michigan OT Taylor Lewan
- New York Jets (Kdub64) - Oregon State WR Brandin Cooks
- Miami Dolphins (SayHeyWerd) - Notre Dame OT/G Zack Martin
- Arizona Cardinals (Koopaztown) - Auburn DE Dee Ford
- Green Bay Packers (kaiser1118) - UCLA LB Anthony Barr
- Philadelphia Eagles (Matt in KC) - LSU WR Odell Beckham Jr.
- Kansas City Chiefs (R2J) - USC WR Marqise Lee
- Cincinnati Bengals (Robert Mayes) - Mizzou DE Kony Ealy
- San Diego Chargers (TheDudeAbides007) - Virginia Tech CB Kyle Fuller
- Cleveland Browns (NigerianNightmare) - UCLA G Xavier Su'a-Filo
- New Orleans Saints (BeeRadd) - Florida State WR Kelvin Benjamin
- Carolina Panthers (citadelchief) - Virginia OT/G Morgan Moses
- New England Patriots (death2norm)
- San Francisco 49ers (Smitty713)
- Denver Broncos (craig in calgary)
- Seattle Seahawks (misterbrain)