Did The Panthers' Brass Tip Their Draft Strategy?

The Panthers have holes to fill and a talent level that needs to be increased.  The good news is they are no longer “shopping at the Dollar Store.”  But make no mistake, this team still does not have the money to go on a spending spree.  While having a projected $14M in cap space may sound nice, they still need to take care of Cam and replace or re-sign both Dwan Edwards and Colin Cole. Don’t forget that Luke is going to get paid soon too. and if the Kraken is found innocent and comes back where he belongs, he will require some of that money.  So while we are in a better position than we were a year ago, we still are not him great cap shape.  

That makes this upcoming Draft all the more important to get it right.  So what will the Panthers do?  Though Football GMs and Coaches alike seem to be masters of telling you nothing at all, I do believe their hand was tipped just a bit in Tuesday's press conference.  Here are some of the topics that came about:

Speed is Important

A few statements stick out to me from the press conference on Tuesday.  First, both Riverboat Ron and Dave Gettleman emphasized speed.  So look for that when looking at prospects.  Moreover, it is no secret that the Panthers got a lot better when they finally got healthy at the speed-needy positions of DB and WR.  Tre Boston, Stiki Wiki and Philly Brown and brought life to a dying 2014 season.  But there is still a need for speed (yes that is a Top Gun reference).   Another writer for C3 is working on a piece that will lay out some prospects that are exceptionally fast and you won't want to miss that article by my boy, Grant Hughes.

No Time To Be Sentimental

A comment from our GM about not making “sentimental” decisions and having to talk with DeAngelo Williams before he said anything resonates with me when thinking about what the Panthers will do this off season. Doesn't it sound a lot (though more respectful version) like his comments last year saying “Steve had a great career here.”  A year ago, speculation ran wild and turned out to be warranted when 89 was released.  I do anticipate that DW will be let go and a RB will be taken at some point in this draft.  If Melvin Gordon were there at 25, could any really blame him for taking one that early?  Or maybe Gurley in Round 2?  

Don’t forget the Blue Goose Hog-Molly

Gettleman did go on to say that he is a guy that believes in building the front.  As he said last year, “ if a blue-goose is sitting there, I’m taking him.”  I love this GMs crazy sayings.  Keeps things interesting.  A few Hog Mollies that could come into play at 25 are Arik Armstead out of Oregon, Ereck Flowers out of Miami and the other Mel just had the Panthers taking Andrus Peat out of Stanford at 25.  If he is there, he would be a great pick.   

So Who Could We Target?

Sammie Coates, the blazing WR out of Auburn is the Pick in the most recent DraftTek Mock.  He would certainly address speed and open things up.  Kevin White is a blazer that runs great routes and if he is there at 25, he has to be the guy.  Another blazer is Dorial Green-Beckham out of Oklahoma.  Check out the rest of my Top 64 for other Hog Mollies and speedsters.

Panther fans, whether it is first round or not, look for the Panthers to find speed at the Wide Receiver and Defensive Backfield positions Also look for them to try to fortify both lines of scrimmage.  We will have a better Free Agency period, but this draft-guy still thinks our Super Bowl team will be built through the draft.  That is not mashugana.

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