Breaking Down the Latest Twitter Buzz About Carolina Panthers' Offseason

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Breaking Down the Latest Twitter Buzz About Carolina Panthers' Offseason
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Despite signing a litany of free agents this offseason to fill in for a considerable number of departed 2013 starters, the Carolina Panthers' offseason hasn't received much attention to this point.

With Greg Hardy's franchise tag compensation pushing the Panthers' 2014 salary near the capped limit, general manager Dave Gettleman has been unable to make any big splashes in free agency.

However, with the release of the upcoming season's schedule and the draft less than a week away, more and more Panthers-related discussion is seeping its way into social media.

One topic that has caught on with receiver-desperate fans is the thought of trading up in the first round of the draft for an elite wideout.

If you've paid much attention to Gettleman's draft tendencies, you'd know that the odds are stacked against the Panthers trading up in the first round, especially to a position high enough where they could nab Texas A&M's Mike Evans. 

The furthest I can imagine Evans falling would be to the 12th overall pick with the New York Giants. Trading up beyond that would likely require trading away Hardy or the team's 2013 and 2014 first-round pick as well as a couple of mid-round picks. With a young group of star players, the Panthers are in no rush to mortgage their future for such a short-term gain.

It's even doubtful that the Panthers would trade up to a position more within their range. With a draft so deep at the Panthers' positions of need, they should be content with waiting for the talent to fall to thema theme that brings us to our next tweet.

At a press conference earlier in the week, Gettleman stated that his draft strategy is set on taking the best player available, even if that player is a defensive lineman, of which the Panthers have plenty.

While this may appall some who believe the team needs to target offensive linemen and receivers, remember that the best player on the Panthers' roster, middle linebacker Luke Kuechly, was drafted when linebacker was a position of strength for the team.

The draft isn't just about filling the current holes in a roster; it's also about adding talent to give a team flexibility in future personnel decisions.

With all that being said, there's little reason to worry about the Panthers drafting a defensive player with their first-round pick. Gettleman has a lot of confidence in this class of offensive tackles and receivers, so expect him to find one he likes when the Panthers go on the clock.

One such player could be Allen Robinson, a receiver who has been overlooked throughout the draft process.

Unless this is a last-minute smokescreen by the Panthers, they could be seriously considering using their first-round pick on the talented Penn State receiver.

Robinson ran just a 4.6 40-yard dash at the combine, per NFL.com, but he remains one of the most athletic receivers in the draft. At 6'2", 220 pounds, he has an NFL-ready body.

That the Panthers are visiting Robinson so late in the process may be an indicator that the Panthers expect there to be a run on receivers in the first round, which is entirely possible and perhaps likely given the surplus of talent at the position. 

But with all this talk about the Panthers' first round, little has been discussed of their plans for their late-round draft picks.

"A quarterback?" you say. Yes, a quarterback.

It's time for the Panthers to begin grooming a backup quarterback who will be a cheaper alternative to Derek Anderson, who is likely on his last contract with the team.

Anderson has done a fine job serving as a mentor to Cam Newton, but bringing in a young and hungry quarterback can only push Newton to be even better. Tajh Boyd fits the mold.

At 6'1", Boyd doesn't have great height, but he has an impressive arm and was a respected leader during his tenure at Clemson. He's not as NFL-ready as a handful of quarterback prospects in this class, but he has the potential to be a starter in this league.

Grabbing Boyd in the fifth round would be an optimal, low-risk situation for the Panthers, who will likely fill their primary needs within the first four rounds.

Chuck Burton/Associated Press

Regardless of how the Panthers' draft unfolds, fans should remain confident in Gettleman's choices considering the draft class he put together in 2013.

On draft day, there are bound to be shocking falls for certain prospects and shocking reaches for others. Whether or not those factors will result in a steal for the Panthers in the first round, we'll have to wait until Thursday night to find out.

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