The Carolina Panthers closed out the 2011 season on a high note by winning four of their final six games. They'll enter the upcoming season as one of the NFL's teams on the rise and likely dark-horse candidates to win the NFC South title.
The Panthers found their crown jewel in the form of a quarterback last season with their No. 1 overall pick. In finding a game-changing franchise quarterback, the first domino in becoming a premier team has fallen.
Carolina now must surround the queen on their chessboard with a few rooks and knights.
The 2012 NFL Draft is an especially defining moment for the Panthers franchise that will determine the staying power and destiny of their organization for the next generation of Panthers football.
We're going to take an in-depth look at some of the players who are likely to be to available with each of the Panthers' selections in this April's Draft.
The Panthers hold seven total draft choices:
Round 1, Pick 9 overall
Round 2, Pick 42 overall
Round 4, Pick 104 overall
Round 4, Pick 143 overall
Round 6, Pick 180 overall
Round 6, Pick 207 overall
Round 7, Pick 216 overall
I invite you to take a look at seven offensive players who the franchise must target in this year's draft.