The Carolina Panthers have the top pick in the draft on Thursday after a disappointing 2010 season.
Ron Rivera takes over as head coach, and I think that he will be a good coach for the Panthers. One thing that the Panthers need to figure out is who is going to be their quarterback of the future.
Jimmy Clausen really struggled in his rookie season, and he may not be the future for the Panthers at quarterback. The Panthers could consider a quarterback in round one of the draft on Thursday.
DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart are one of the better running back duos in the league.
However, Williams is a free agent and he may command too much money for the Panthers to bring him back. Steve Smith is no longer the number one receiver that he was for so long in Carolina.
David Gettis and Brandon LaFell are solid No. 2 and 3 receivers who will be big parts of the Panthers’ offense for years to come. Yet neither one of them are number one type receivers, so the Panthers could look to bring in a top receiver.
The tight end combo of Jeff King and Dante Rosario is less than average and a replacement is needed. The offensive line is pretty solid overall, especially at tackle with Jeff Otah and Jordan Gross. Ryan Kalil is one of the better young centers in the league, and guards Travelle Wharton and Geoff Schwarts are adequate starters too.
Charles Johnson is a very good young pass rusher, but he is a free agent this season. I think the Panthers will bring him back, as they can’t afford to lose their best pass rusher. Greg Hardy and Everette Brown are talented young ends who will get every chance to develop into good pass rushers.
Nick Hayden and Derek Landri were the starters last season at defensive tackle, but neither one of them is starting material.
It’s possible that the Panthers could get upgrades over both of the current starters in this week’s draft. Jon Beason is a top young linebacker, and the leader of the defense.
The outside linebacker group is uncertain heading into next season, as James Anderson and Thomas Davis are both free agents. They are both solid players, so it’s possible that both of them could be back next season.
Chris Gamble and Richard Marshall give the Panthers two good starting cornerbacks, but Marshall will likely be elsewhere next season. They have good depth at the position though, with Captain Munnerlyn as the nickel back, along with 2010 rookie Robert McClain.
Charles Godfrey led the team in interceptions last season and is an adequate all around player. Sherrod Martin could be replaced, but he will most likely be the starter next season, because of the fact that the Panthers have so many more pressing needs to fill in the draft.