Panthers Offseason Needs NFL 2022: Free Agency And Draft Preview
The Panthers have been underwhelming this year after starting off hot (as a Raiders fan, I know a thing or two about that). As far as needs and problems go, I refuse to believe that Sam Darnold is a major problem for this team. Am I dumb? Yeah. Am I stupid? No. Okay, well maybe, but still, QB being one of this team’s biggest needs is too much for me. Am I completely sold on Darnold still? Maybe not anymore, but I do know he came from a dysfunctional Jets team and struggled with a new team that has a work-in-progress line and their OC got fired. So not that much better situation for a still very young QB. Before I go on a tangent about that. Let’s see how we can fix the Panthers outside of the QB thing. Despite what most think, there’s not a lot of wiggle room on the QB subject anyway. Unless you can trade for a better QB of course. But, let’s try to solve the Panthers’ problems that don’t include QBs, just for the sake of my sanity, okay? Okay. Let’s look at the Panthers’ offseason needs for 2022.
Panthers Free Agency
First, let’s look at their free agency situation to address the Panthers’ offseason needs. The Panthers have close to $30 million to spend in free agency. Their needs are pretty much OL and defense. They have 12 guys on expiring contracts on the defensive side. That’s tough, considering that the defense was supposed to be stronger than the offense.
The Panthers have needs all over the OL, I would love for them to address that in the draft. They might be able to fill some of that need in free agency. But with more of a rich market for secondary and the Panthers possibly losing quite of bit of their secondary to free agency, they need to make that a focal point in free agency.
In the draft, the Panthers are looking bleak on picks. They have the 6th overall pick, and then not another pick for basically another 100 picks. This means the Panthers almost HAVE TO trade down. In fact, I won’t entertain any other option. They need those picks. The Panthers CANNOT be THAT dumb to not trade down, right? Of course, don’t sell yourself short, but the more the merrier in this instance. You’d like to trade down and still get a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd round pick. That’s ideal. I’m not opposed to them trading down again in the 1st to get more mid-range talent. Trading down twice in the 1st round should almost get them a couple of 2nd round picks and a few 3rd rounds picks. The Panthers don’t necessarily need the best player available and only to get a few picks, but rather get some more depth in this draft. The Panthers could trade down twice and still get some good OL talent here. They won’t get guys Tyler Linderbaum, Kenyon Green, Ikem Ekwonu, or Evan Neal, unfortunately. But, if they play their cards right, and with a little bit of luck and stupidity from other teams, they might land some guys like Trevor Penning, Charles Cross, or Nicholas Petit-Frere with their first pick in the draft.
Getting more picks and landing a guy like that might be their best-case scenario. Assuming they take my advice and trade down. We should have a few 2nd round and 3rd round picks. Using that logic, let’s just look at guys they should draft (spoiler they are all mostly lineman.) Zion Johnson, Ed Ingram, Lecitus Smith, Jarrett Patterson, Alec Lindstrom, Sean Rhyan are all guys I like for them on the offensive line in the mid-range rounds. They might be able to find a few secondary guys here and there in the 2nd or later rounds too. Guys like Derion Kendrick, Roger McCreary, or Brandon Joseph. Getting a few of these guys on the line and in the secondary would be beneficial.
Trading down is a must for the Panthers, and if they decide to ignorantly just draft in the top 10 and not until like 100 picks later, then the Panthers’ offseason needs will have to be addressed in free agency. It’s hard to analyze anything else the Panthers could do until they trade down. Read my lips from behind the computer screen, QB is not a NEED on this team, not the bigger ones anyway. Be smart and build around the QB and fill the holes in the secondary and wait to address the QB problem with more options available. It’s just not the right time right now. Maybe next year address the QB, this year address the line and secondary. But what do I know, I’m just a guy that likes Sam Darnold personally.
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