The Carolina Panthers have needs to address this year and little room under the salary cap to fill them with the quality talent that is heading into the free-agent market. That leaves the draft as the best option for building towards the future and it keeps the team both young and affordable. However, they will need to choose between the incoming rookie class or veteran free agents in order to fill the gaps on the roster.
Rookies offer youth, talent and are affordable. Veterans may have a history of injuries, big demands and, in some cases, be a shell of their former selves. Both parties do carry their share of risks. There is the possibility of a rookie not panning out and becoming a bust. A veteran may not play up to his contract or spend a lot of time on the injury report, if not the injured reserve.
Obviously, Carolina's front office has a lot of decisions to make and, fortunately, it would appear general manager Dave Gettleman has done alright after one season of assembling the roster.
There are plenty of needs to be filled this offseason. It seems certain that offensive tackle and wide receiver will swing in favor of the rookie class. Positions like cornerback or defensive end are among those that can go either way.
The next few slides will discuss each position of need and whether a rookie or a veteran player is best suited to meet the team's need.