Two years ago, the Carolina Panthers were humbled in the Super Bowl. Last season they didn’t make it back to the playoffs. They still know what it feels like to get to the big game and want to get back. But when they do, they don’t want to be “humbled” like they were the last time.
Like every other team hoping to get to the Super Bowl, the Panthers need to get better. Fans will be hoping they did just that with their 2017 Draft Class.
- Round One—Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey: He’s a home run threat running the ball, as a receiver, and whenever he returns a kick. Cam Newton had to be the playmaker before; the guy that made everyone else better. Now he has someone that can make him better.
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) April 28, 2017
- Round Two— Ohio State WR Curtis Samuel: Samuel gives Cam Newton another versatile weapon to go with McCaffrey. A talented runner and a very capable receiver, he should be able to give defenses a headache or two as a rookie.
- Round Two— Western Michigan OT Tayor Moton: at 6’5” and 319 pounds he has the kind of size that can open up running lanes and keep pass rushers from getting back to Cam Newton too fast. He may not have the quickness in pass protection to play tackle in the NFL, but that’s okay (he can move inside).
- Round Three—Texas A&M DE Daeshon Hall: He’s not as well-known as that other defensive lineman from Texas A&M but he is very talented in his own right. With Kony Ealy leaving town he will help fill the void and maybe help give Julius Peppers a little breathing room.
- Round Five—Miami CB Corn Elder: He’s small and his skill needs some more time to develop but he is a solid run defender and does a good job of limiting production after the catch. His instincts and discipline in coverage are good. He may not be ready next season to do much. However, in a year or two he could become very productive.
- Round Six—West Georgia DE/FB Alexander Armah: ESPN lists him as a defensive end but NFL.com lists him as a fullback. He played linebacker and fullback at West Georgia. At 6’ and 244 pounds, he seems a bit small for a defensive end in the NFL. But with his athleticism and size, he could make for a great fullback and solid contributor on special teams.
- Round Seven— Georgia Tech PK Harrison Butker: if you must draft a kicker, this is where you do it (not the second round). His accuracy wasn’t awesome his first three seasons but it was pretty good last year. Graham Gano wasn’t great last year and this season is a contract year for him. It seems pretty clear Gano is not in the long term plans of the Panthers anymore.
They covered a number of needs with their picks. But did they cover enough? Fans will have to wait until the season start to find out.