Sports Illustrated Gives Some Love to the Panthers for Their 2017 Draft Picks

While it could take years for the Panthers and the rest of the NFL to be able to give a grade to the teams’ draft class this year, it’s never early to start throwing out how teams did last week in the annual picking of players.

Chris Burke of SI has thrown out his grades – and he has the following to say about how he felt the Panthers did last week.

The offense received a huge boost, both in terms of athletic upside and O-line help. The defense took maybe a tiny step forward. Does that combo work out well enough for the Panthers to get back to Super Bowl contention? RB Christian McCaffrey was worth the No. 8 pick, because he can thrive in the power-run scheme but also burn defenses as a receiver. His addition made that of RB/WR Curtis Samuel (No. 40) unexpected. Samuel is a video-game weapon, but was this at at all repetitive after taking McCaffrey? Will the Panthers regret not going defense there? Taylor Moton (No. 64) should be the starting right tackle—he’s that solid already. DE Daeshon Hall (No. 77) and CB Corn Elder (No. 152) can contribute on defense, but neither is an elite-impact guy. GRADE B+

A Rundown of All the Carolina Panthers 2017 NFL Draft Picks

Sports Illustrated has a complete rundown of all of the Panthers 2017 Draft Picks and some commentary as well.

Round 1, Pick 8 (No. 8 overall)

Christian McCaffrey, RB, Stanford: Remember all that talk about how McCaffrey didn’t have a “natural position fit” in the NFL and how teams would have to tweak their offenses to fit him? Forget it. It was ridiculous all along. McCaffrey ran between the tackles with great effectiveness in college, and he has the pass-catching chops to smoke defenses from the slot. He brings a completely different element to the Panthers’ offense, one that QB Cam Newton should benefit greatly from having. McCaffrey is a better fit for this scheme than Fournette, who was rumored to be in the Panthers’ sights as well. Carolina’s secondary and lines still need addressing at some point, but McCaffrey is as clean a prospect as there is in this draft.? GRADE: A-

Round 2, Pick 8 (No. 40)

Curtis Samuel, RB/WR, Ohio State: Hoo boy, that Carolina offense is going to be fun to watch. Both Samuel and first-round pick Christian McCaffrey are uber-athletic running backs with potential out of the slot. It’s fair to wonder, though, if this was overkill. If McCaffrey’s getting touches all over the field, how is Samuel getting involved? The Panthers still have needs at CB, DE and OT.? GRADE: C+

Round 2, Pick 32 (No. 64)

Taylor Moton, G, Western Michigan: And there’s the other Day 2 offensive tackle capable of stepping in as a rookie starter. The Panthers overpaid for Matt Kalil to play LT, so this is probably a safety net on the right side for Michael Oher, whose concussion issues have put his future in jeopardy. Moton is a mauler—a plug-and-play option for the Panthers’ revamped offense.? GRADE: A

Round 3, Pick 13 (No. 77)

Daeshon Hall, DE, Texas A&M: Anzalone is an ultra-athletic linebacker who just could not stay healthy at Florida. If he does, he easily could be the best playmaker in the Saints’ linebacking corps—and that’s as of 2017, not beyond. It’s a risk, but also addresses a need for New Orleans as it tries hard to fix its defense.? GRADE: B+

Round 5, Pick 8 (No. 152) Corn Elder, LB, Miami

Round 6, Pick 8 (No. 192) Alex Armah, FB, West Georgia

Round 7, Pick 15 (No. 233) Harrison Butker, K, Georgia Tech

Panthers Snag Stanford RB Christian McCaffrey with 8th Pick in 2017 NFL Draft

Thursday the Panthers picked their running back of the future, snapping up Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey with the 8th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.

Along with his ability to run the ball, the 5-foot-10, 202-pound McCaffrey has the ability to play slot receiver and return kicks. He set an NCAA record with 3,864 all-purpose yards in 2015, rushing for 2,019 yards along with 645 yards receiving and 1,070 on kickoff returns.

While some questions remain over McCaffrey’s ability to be an every down back in the NFL, he won’t have to fill that role in Carolina – at least not immediately.

He’s expected to split time with nine-year veteran Jonathan Stewart, who signed a two-year contract extension earlier this offseason.

Carolina’s offense took a step back last season after reaching the Super Bowl in 2015.

After combining for 45 touchdowns in 2015, Newton spent most of last season under duress, throwing 19 TD passes and 14 interceptions while completing a career-low 52.9 percent of his passes.

McCaffrey figures to help bolster that completion percentage by serving as an outlet for Newton on short slant routes and dump downs because of his abilities as a receiver. The Panthers were also last in the NFL in yards after the catch, an area the big play McCaffrey excelled at with Stanford.

This past season McCaffrey averaged 211.5 yards per game and led the Pac-12 with 1,639 yards rushing despite being hampered by an ankle injury. He averaged more than 30 touches per game over the past two seasons.

With the #8 pick of the Draft The Panthers Select…

IS the Writing on the Wall?

Mock drafts… Do they really know?

Not really. But I still like to know the opinions and guesses going around the analysts boards. I’ve read them, I’ve listened to them, I’m up to speed.

The Panthers have some of the best scouts in the league, in my opinion, who always seems to throw curve balls and throw everyone around the league into a shocked frenzy (including myself).

I can still remember the baffled look at the 2012 Draft when the Panthers selected Luke August Kuechly with the 9th overall pick. (Did you know his middle name?)

Heads were spinning and the praise began to grow, nevertheless, it was a surprise to the announcers, imo.

It seemed as if there was a moment of silence, the announcers were caught off guard, before they began to speak highly of young Luke’s abilities.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=60TPDtV8cwo

Fastforward from 2012…to 2013, doubled up with DT’s (Star &  Short), 2014 (K.B)

In 2015‘s NFL Draft–Pick 25

Remember who announced the pick? You got it. Thomas Davis. The pick? Defense. LB Shaq Thompson.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sG8_4JMt0Vs

TD also announced CB Daryl Worley in the Third-round.

Who’s announcing the 1st round, #8th pick in this year’s draft? You guessed it. TD.

Do I have a point? If history has anything to do with it, maybe. Not convinced? Yeah, me neither but…

In 2016‘s NFL Draft Rd. 2 Pk 62… Who made the announcement? None other than CB Chris Gamble.

Who did the Panthers select? CB James Bradberry.

IS the Writing on the Wall?

You decide.

In poker its best to not show your hand. I think teams in the NFL would love to know who the other teams are drafting. They can have the same, if not more, sources a their disposal as the rest of us (that’s what they get paid for as scouts and insiders in the league).

So what do you do, imo? You do the bait and switch. You are allowed to have 30 visits, where you can get to know those players who you think may fit well for your team (you wont draft all 30 players). This can be used as a disguise to “protect your hand.”

Interviews/ Pre-Draft Press Conference— how much can you read into them and what does the GM want the rest of the league to read into them?

GM Dave Gettleman, has been around long enough, 30 years? He’s got a mean poker face, but remember, he loves hogmollies.

Do I think he’ll use #8 on a RB, not really. I was for a RB last year in my prediction that it was a good time to grab one. My reasoning has changed since then, and the Panthers, as you know, did not select a RB. (Btw, they did bring in and workout RB Derrick Henry)

http://www.panthersgab.com/2016/04/11/mushin-moose-muhammad-and-i-talk-panthers-football/ Read the rest of this entry »

A Look at the 2017 Panthers Schedule with a Glance at the Good and the Bad

The 2017 NFL Schedule is out, and here’s a look at the Panthers slate for the upcoming season, with the home games in bold:

Sep. 10 at San Francisco 49ers 4:25 PM

Sep. 17 Buffalo Bills 1:00 PM

Sep. 24 New Orleans Saints 1:00 PM

Oct. 1 at New England Patriots 1:00 PM

Oct. 8 at Detroit Lions 1:00 PM

Oct. 12 Philadelphia Eagles (Thu) 8:25 PM

Oct. 22 at Chicago Bears 1:00 PM

Oct. 29 at Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1:00 PM

Nov. 5 Atlanta Falcons 1:00 PM

Nov. 13 Miami Dolphins (Mon) 8:30 PM

Nov. 19 BYE

Nov. 26 at New York Jets 1:00 PM

Dec. 3 at New Orleans Saints 1:00 PM

Dec. 10 Minnesota Vikings 1:00 PM

Dec. 17 Green Bay Packers 1:00 PM

Dec. 24 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1:00 PM

Dec. 31 at Atlanta Falcons 1:00 PM

What’s Good about this Schedule: A three-game home stretch December 10th, 17th and 24th in three games that could decide if this team is postseason bound or playing for a high playoff spot in 2018.

What’s Bad about this Schedule: The month of October will be tough with three of their four games being on the road, with the killer being back to back against the Bears and Bucs.

Panthers Place the Franchise Tag on DT Kawann Short

The Panthers placed the franchise tag on defensive tackle Kawann Short Monday afternoon, Jourdan Rodrigue of the Charlotte Observer reports.

The tag is non-exclusive, meaning Short can talk with and potentially sign an offer sheet with another team, which the Panthers could match and keep him or not match and receive two first-round picks in return.

The move came two days before the official “tag deadline” and more than a week before Short was due to hit the open market as a free agent. He has until July 15 to work out a deal with the Panthers.

The projected value of the tag for a defensive tackle is $13.5 million.

Short was tagged just hours after the Panthers re-signed defensive end Wes Horton to a two-year deal, and extended defensive end Mario Addison’s contract by three years and a reported $22.5 million. Short and Addison were two of the top priorities for the Panthers as free agency approached

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Former Giants WR Victor Cruz Visits with the Panthers

Wide receiver Victor Cruz, who was released last week in a cost-cutting move by the Giants, was in Carolina this weekend for a visit withthe Panthers, Bill Voth of Blackandbluereview.com reports.

Cruz left town without a contract, the source said, and he’s expected to talk with at least one other team.

Gettleman was in the team’s front office when they signed Cruz as an undrafted free agent in 2010. The move sparked a rags-to-riches story that saw Cruz put up back-to-back 1,000-yard years beginning with the Giants’ 2011 Super Bowl-winning season.

Cruz would fit a position of need for the Panthers, who are looking for help in the slot after not replacing Jerricho Cotchery’s touches in 2016. Cruz could also fill the mentor role missing from last season’s wide receivers’ room.

Since tearing his patellar tendon midway through 2014, Cruz has totaled just 923 yards in 21 games. And late this past season, he lost some snaps to Tavarres King, who’s played in only nine regular-season games since the Panthers cut him ahead of the 2014 season.

Because Cruz was released by the Giants, he’s not an unrestricted free agent, which means teams don’t have to wait until the start of the new league year on March 9 to sign him.

Panthers Resign LB Ben Jacobs

The Panthers have re-signed the first of their potential free agents, reaching a two-year deal with linebacker Ben Jacobs, Bryan Strickland of Panthers.com reports.

Jacobs, a potential restricted free agent, returned to the team for the final four games last season after being released with an injury settlement just before the regular season started.

“I spent 13 weeks at home watching games on the couch and not knowing if I’d ever get the chance to play again. So when I got that call, I wanted to take full advantage,” Jacobs said. “I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to stay with this organization because I love this place. I love these guys and this coaching staff. It feels like home to me.”

Jacobs played in every game in 2014 and 2015 and was a special teams stalwart, pacing the team with nine special teams tackles in 2014 and adding eight more in 2015.

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