Part 10 of a 32 part series, a running back position analysis of each franchise. The Carolina Panthers finished second in the division with a 7-9 record. The Panthers need to re-build their offensive line. The Panther were anemic on offense and need to bring in a playmaker other than WR Steve Smith. Re-building their Offensive line will help keep QB Jake Delhomme upright and avoid more injuries he’s missed a lot of time over the past two seasons due to injuries. Delhomme had Tommy-John surgery type elbow surgery in October and is expected to be back for training camp. The Panther defense was once thought of as team strength has underachieved recently. Part of the off season needs to be spent filling holes left by some longtime defensive fixtures Mike Rucker & Dan Morgan. After another concussion Dan Morgan is no longer a Panther and is finishing his career in New Orleans. 2007 1st round pick LB Jon Beason is arguably the team MVP on defense already. He was a steal of a late 1st round pick. Beason meshed well with former college teammate Dan Morgan and the change to have him take over at Middle Linebacker is already underway. The “other” linebacker drafted Tim Shaw was overshadowed by Jon Beason. The Panthers needs are OLT, WR, QB, DE, OLB.
Deshaun Foster 6’ 0” 222 lbs. 247 Att. 876 Yards 3.5 YPC Avg. 3 TD’s
DeAngelo Williams 5’ 9” 217 lbs. 144 Att. 717 Yards 5.0 YPC Avg. 4 TD’s
Nick Goings 6’ 0” 225 lbs.
Eric Shelton 6’ 1” 246 lbs.
DeShaun Foster & DeAngelo Williams shared the load for the Panthers in 2007 but DeShaun Foster is now a 49er and will be part of the 1-2 punch for San Francisco. Foster had another disappointing season, failing to it 1,000 yards while limited to 3.5 yards per carry. DeAngelo Williams showed enough to warrant a shot at the starting lineup, averaging 5.0 yards per carry. He has more big-play ability than Foster. Nick Goings the jack-of-all-trades can play halfback, fullback and contribute on special teams spent the majority of the season on injured reserve. He will provide depth at the position and has always played well when called upon. Eric Shelton did not play in 2007 and has never been able to show what he can or can not do. He has moved on to the Washington Redskins where he’s looking for a shot to show what he can do. The Panthers will have to draft a running back later in the draft hopefully a short yardage back to move the chains; Jonathan Stewart, Matt Forte are good fits. The Panthers brought in free agent David Carr last year and that proved to be a mistake. The Panthers need to draft a QB for insurance & should look for Chad Henne, Joe Flacco, Andre Woodson, and Erick Ainge. The combination of Gm Marty Hurney & Head Coach John Fox haven’t had great success in the draft over the last 5 years and 2007 marked the first back-to-back years the Panthers have failed to make the playoffs.
The question for the Panthers: If the lack of success in finding starters in the draft and missing the playoffs for a 3rd season mark the end of both the GM & Head Coaches employment with the team?