With the exciting portion of free agency over, it's time for NFL fans to devote their attention to the draft, which will start on April 25th.
The Carolina Panthers own the 14th-overall selection, but do not have picks in the third or seventh round. Rookie GM David Gettleman will have the tough job of deciding which needs are more pressing, especially when the value of available prospects is similar.
Most franchises that have achieved a consistent level of success elect to draft the best player remaining on their board. The New York Giants, Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots all represent perfect case studies in terms of how to build a successful franchise through the draft.
Not only do rookies make less money than veterans, which is something that cannot be underestimated in the current market, but they also offer fresher legs and a more open mind.
The theory behind drafting the best available player is that the team has a better chance of finding a difference-maker, rather than reaching on a player to fill a need. Talented scouting units can be determined based upon the success they find later in the draft, as part of the equation is finding a player who properly suits the team.
Carolina still needs to improve at defensive tackle, wide receiver, in the secondary and along the offensive line.
Gettleman will only have five draft picks to augment the current roster, although the Panthers may look to move back in the draft if the right opportunity presents itself.