After the successful rookie campaign for quarterback Cam Newton in 2011, expectations were raised, at least to some degree, for the Carolina Panthers heading into 2012.
A 1-6 start dashed any hopes they had of making a run at the postseason, but to the credit of the players and coaching staff, they never got down on themselves and wound up winning six of their last nine games to finish a respectable 7-9.
Still, even with the strong finish to 2012, this team has plenty of holes to fill this offseason if it wants to challenge the Atlanta Falcons and even the New Orleans Saints in the NFC South next season.
The Panthers have given head coach Ron Rivera new life by allowing him another year. There was some thinking that the team's disastrous start last season would spell the end for the second-year coach.
There are pieces in place for the Panthers to be a successful franchise, it will just take a tweak or two and an impact player in the draft to turn things around.
Here is a complete look at the Panthers' biggest strengths and weaknesses as they begin to assess where they are heading into the 2013 NFL draft.