Carolina Panthers Recent Cornerback Signings Could Determine Draft Strategy

Charles EdwardsContributor IMarch 20, 2013

Josh Norman could use help on the opposite side of the field, but will a veteran or rookie line up with him?
Josh Norman could use help on the opposite side of the field, but will a veteran or rookie line up with him?David Banks/Getty Images

The Carolina Panthers have been mostly quiet in free agency this year.  Most of that is due to the lack of cap room they have to work with, but it has not hindered them from making a few moves of necessity.  In the last week, Carolina has signed two cornerbacks: Drayton Florence and DJ Moore (via

Both are NFL-established and could serve to bolster a position that has become arguably the weakest part of the team following the release of Chris Gamble and Captain Munnerlyn entering free agency.

While the signings pale in comparison to some of the other deals that have been made around the league, they could very well shape the future of the team's draft strategy this year and even into 2014.  After all, both deals that have been made are short term and unless they break out in 2013, they do not figure to be a part of Carolina's long term plans.

Going back to their draft strategy, it is possible the Panthers could still address the cornerback position.  However, with the recent signings of Florence and Moore they could shift their focus to drafting a safety, assuming they don't sign one in free agency. 

There is still a possibility the Panthers draft a corner in April, but the smart money suggests they will go with a defensive tackle in the first round.  Oddly enough, cornerback is starting to mirror their defensive tackle situation, with journeymen veterans and young players who lack experience.

With that in mind, one can assume Carolina will probably worry about upgrading their secondary in the 2014 draft where they can evaluate the first round safeties and cornerbacks.  If Josh Norman is able to build upon his rookie season, the priority should be to go after a shutdown corner.

DJ Moore could help his cause as well.  He is still a young player, having been drafted in 2009, and should have a lot left in the tank.  If his 2013 campaign is a successful one, he could be signed to an extension and alleviate the need to worry about acquiring secondary help in the early rounds.

This would prove beneficial for Carolina, as they could use their first pick of next year's draft to bring in a top-notch wide receiver and build around the passing game. 

There are still a lot of moves that need to be made by the Panthers, and while it is still too early to look ahead to training camp and the ensuing position battles, their recent signings should illustrate a win-lose scenario based on the performance of Florence and Moore.

Best case is one of them steps up and can lock down the position opposite Josh Norman for a few seasons allowing to upgrade the offense or the worst case in which both players fail to meet expectations and force the Panthers to secure a defensive back in the first round of next year's draft.