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Panthers Go All Defense in Matt Rhule’s First Draft, Sets NFL History

Panthers coach Matt Rhule hasn’t coached a down in the NFL and already he’s a part of league history, David Newton of ESPN reports.

The Panthers used all seven of their picks in the NFL draft on defensive players the past three days, the most in the common draft era to be made all on defense, according to ESPN Stats & Information research.

Carolina tied the 1985 Cleveland Browns for the most picks on one side of the ball. The Browns used all seven picks on offense.

Panthers Go Defense in Round One of NFL Draft, Snag Auburn DT Brown with 7th Pick

Auburn DT Derrick Brown is now a member of the Panthers, as Thursday the team took the big man to start the new regime of new coach Matt Rhule.

David Newton of ESPN talks about why with the 7th pick the Cats went the route of taking Brown:

Carolina has only two defensive tackles on its roster in Kawann Short and Woodrow Hamilton, so no position has a bigger need. Put Brown and his run-stopping ability next to Pro Bowler Short and his pass-rushing ability, and the middle of the defense will be as stout as any in the NFL. Opponents literally ran away from Brown’s side at Auburn.

CBS Sports gave the pick an A+ – Brown being an impact player day one for the new look Cats in 2020.

Cam’s Career with the Panthers Nixed; Newton Cut After Nine Seasons

The split is now official, as the Panthers and quarterback Cam Newton are officially on the outs, as today the Panthers announced they have released the veteran QB.

Carolina announced last Tuesday that it had allowed Newton to seek a trade. With few potential landing spots, no leverage, and major questions about his health, none materialized. The team moved on a week later.

The No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft instantly became the face of the Panthers franchise, leading Carolina to three straight NFC South titles from 2013-2015, a Super Bowl and four total postseason appearances.

Newton earned the 2015 NFL MVP award and was named to three Pro Bowls during his run in Carolina.

It all deteriorated quickly for the hulking quarterback, however, as injuries took their toll over the past three seasons.

Newton underwent multiple shoulder surgeries and missed all but two games in 2019 due to a foot injury that ultimately required a procedure.

The lingering health questions left no team willing to part ways with draft assets to acquire a quarterback on the last year of his contract and one who would likely have wanted an extension.

The end to Newton’s run in Carolina came swiftly. After trade winds swirled at the close of the season, the Panthers’ new coach Matt Rhule insisted during the NFL Scouting Combine he “absolutely” wanted Newton back.

Weeks later, the Panthers reversed gears, announcing last week that Newton could seek a trade — phrasing the quarterback rejected, saying the team “forced me into this,” in what can only be described as a bitter divorce spat. The same day, Carolina already had a replacement, signing Teddy Bridgewater to a three-year, $63 million contract, with $33 million fully guaranteed at signing.

With Bridgewater in the building and no trade options, the Panthers officially cut ties with Newton.

What’s the Status of the Panthers Receiving Core as Free Agency Closes In?

teams wide receiver cores are looking going into the process.

With the Panthers overhauling the roster and likely going with a new QB in 2020, the team could use another big impact player at receiver.

You can read the entire article HERE – for now here’s what the piece says about the Panthers receiver situation.

Top three WRs in 2019: D.J. Moore (87-1,175-4), Curtis Samuel (54-627-6), Jarius Wright (28-296-0 — UFA).

The Panthers posted 1.2 yards per route run on plays where the wide receiver was targeted, second to last in the NFL in 2019, per NGS. With new head coach Matt Rhule, who has a history of using a pass-heavy offensive strategy, at the helm, it’s unlikely that Carolina will repeat as the owner of the NFL’s lowest passer rating (74.7 in 2019). It remains to be seen if running back Christian McCaffrey once again tops the team in catches (116 for 1,005 yards and four TDs).

Who Would the Panthers Use the Franchise Tag on If Needed in 2020?

USA Today has released an interesting article regarding the ever unpopular (at least for players) ‘Franchise tag’ and how team’s may use it in 2020.

It seems like every team has an option to use the franchise tag, which stops a player from even negotiating with outside teams and forces them to stay put.

To see the entire list of all 32 teams and the players that might be franchised, click HERE.

Here’s what the article has to say about the Panthers, who they say may franchise running back James Bradberry.

CB James Bradberry seems to be generating ridiculous buzz, but the rebuilding Panthers would be wise not to tag a player who has yet to prove he’s a Pro Bowl-caliber commodity.

Former Coach Ron Rivera Raises Over $30,000 for Charity Selling Panthers Items

Twenty-four hours after new Redskins coach Ron Rivera unloaded Pro Bowl cornerback Josh Norman from his roster, he unloaded more than 1,000 items he accumulated in nine seasons with the Panthers ESPN reports.

Only this time it was for charity.

Rivera and his wife, Stephanie, held a yard sale on Saturday at the Humane Society of Charlotte with the entire $30,237 raised going toward a new campus and research facility for one of their favorite charities during their time in the Queen City.

Approximately 3,000 people stood in line for the opportunity to purchase everything from one of the countless T-shirts Rivera had made with inspirational and promotional slogans to the military paraphernalia he acquired working with the USO of North Carolina to the shoes he wore on the sidelines.

Former players Luke Kuechly, Greg Olsen and Cam Newton also contributed items to help the Humane Society reach its goal of $15 million needed to build what vice president of philanthropy Dona Stucker called a facility in a “real bad state of disrepair.”

Even Rivera’s dogs, a full-blooded golden retriever named Tahoe and Sierra, a mixed-breed adopted from this shelter, contributed to the fundraiser with leashes, collars, dog beds and even a dog crate.

Panthers to Work Out QB Cam Newton in March Before Any Decisions

Before they make a decision about his future, the Panthers will work out quarterback Cam Newton on the field in March.

“They want to at least give him a shot, see where he’s at,” a team source told ESPN. “Then we’ll see what happens.” The 30-year-old former league MVP missed all but two games in 2019 due to a Lisfranc injury to his foot and finally underwent surgery in December after rest and rehab proved insufficient.

There are concerns that his body may be breaking down due to years of hard hits and fearless play, considering the played with a shoulder injury for most of the 2018 season and had to undergo surgery.

For his part, Newton has made it clear that he wants to stay in Carolina and believes that he will be a Panther in 2020.

Newton has been linked to trade rumors, but letting him play out the final year of his deal “isn’t a far-fetched scenario.” The Panthers would save $19.1 million in cap space if they move on from Newton.

But they would also lose the man who has been both the heart and the face of the franchise ever since he was drafted No.1-overall in 2011. True franchise quarterbacks do not grow and trees and it is clear the Panthers are going to be thorough and cautious before deciding to jettison theirs and start over.

Panthers Hire Baylor DC Phil Snow as New Defensive Coordinator

The Panthers have hired former Baylor defensive coordinator Phil Snow to fill the same position for Matt Rhule in the NFL according to Max Henson and Will Bryan of panthers.com.

The 64-year-old Snow has now followed Rhule at all three of his last coaching stops at Temple, Baylor, and Carolina. He has also served as DC at several other schools including UCLA, Washington, Arizona State, and Boise State.

While Snow has spent most of his career at the college level, the did serve as the Lions’ LBs coach from 2006-08.

With both his offensive and defensive coordinators taking on that role for the first time in the pros, it seems likely the Panthers will look to add some actually NFL coaching experience to their staff.

Both ex-Giants coach Ben McAdoo and former Chargers head coach Mike McCoy have been recently interviewed for the vacant QBs coach position.

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