The Carolina Panthers will not qualify for the playoffs this season, which means it is time to shift some focus to the 2013 NFL draft. That being said, the two games that remain on the schedule are vital in regards to evaluating the talent on the roster.
The first step that the new front office will have to take is to evaluate the team's current players, because this will allow it to identify weaknesses that need to be remedied.
The Panthers have some obvious needs, and they can fill the majority of them if they draft flawlessly.
Carolina needs help in addressing its rushing defense and offensive line; each of those areas have hurt the Panthers consistently this season.
The Panthers are ranked 17th against the run, although that number is slightly skewed by the fact that they play in the pass-happy NFC South. Since their divisional foes tend to rely on their passing attacks, Carolina's run defense was given a reprieve in some of those divisional battles.
The offensive line took a serious hit when Ryan Kalil was placed on the injured reserve after Week 5. The loss of Kalil forced the Panthers to shuffle their already questionable offensive line, and the results have been lackluster.
Cam Newton has been sacked 33 times this season, which is the eighth most in the NFL. In order for Cam to develop as a pocket passer, he will need a capable offensive line to protect him.
After those needs are addressed, the Panthers should look to add another wide receiver and some secondary help in the later rounds.
Note: The Panthers do not have a third-round pick due to a trade they made with the San Francisco 49ers during the 2012 draft.