Experts Are Weighing In On Fantasy Potential For Panthers Rookies.

It's only May, but is that really to soon to start eyeing potential Panthers fantasy star? I don't think so, and these fantasy sites don't either. So I jumped in to get an early look at where some of the experts have our offensive rookies Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel ranked.




McCaffrey brings a much-needed dimension to the Panthers that they have lacked for years. He is a unique pass-catching back with an ability to run the ball as well. I don’t expect him to blow anyone away with his rushing numbers. However, he has the potential to be PPR gold. His presence should also help Cam Newton out immensely forcing the defense to focus more underneath so he can blow the top off when the opportunity presents itself.

Curtis Samuel did not make this list.


12. Curtis Samuel, WR, Carolina Panthers

Samuel is a player to watch during camp, as the Panthers don't have much at wide receiver behind Kelvin Benjamin (who is reportedly overweight) and Devin Funchess. A versatile player in the mold of a Percy Harvin, Samuel could etch out a role in the Panthers offense as a potential slot receiver who also sees a handful of carries. The Ohio State product will have some late-round appeal in most fantasy leagues.
Projection: 21 carries, 113 yards, 0 TDs, 47 receptions, 506 yards, 4 TDs



2. Christian McCaffrey, RB, Carolina Panthers

McCaffrey isn't considered a good fit for the Panthers offense in the minds of some analysts, but has this unit ever had a runner with his skill set? You don't draft someone eighth overall and not use him to the best of his abilities, and he fills a need in an offense that lacks playmakers. McCaffrey can do it all on the gridiron, and I think he'll be a better fantasy option than veteran Jonathan Stewart as a rookie.
Projection: 153 carries, 677 yards, 4 TDs, 54 receptions, 433 yards, 2 TDs


12. Curtis Samuel - Panthers WR/RB

Like Christian McCaffrey, Samuel is a collegiate RB/WR playmaker for Cam Newton. With Kelvin Benjamin and Greg Olsen running vertical routes, Samuel can be used in a variety of ways underneath like Julian Edelman.


3. Christian McCaffrey - Panthers RB/WR

The combination of McCaffrey and Samuel paired with Cam Newton’s talents is scary. For my initial thoughts on McCaffrey, please check out my post-first round feature.




4) Christian McCaffrey, RB, Panthers

We already have the "Run CMC" T-shirts, but the question is, just how much will Carolina let McCaffrey run?. It's selling him short as a five-to-10-carry change-of-pace guy, as McCaffrey is underrated as a physical finisher and even better as advertised as an open-field receiver. Given he's behind aging and worn Jonathan Stewart (30), he must be drafted as an RB2. The Panthers were short on dynamic difference-makers last year, and McCaffrey should get every chance to be a consistent one.

Curtis Samuel didn't crack their top 17.

As expected, it sounds like a lot of the fantasy gurus are high on McCaffrey out of the rookie class this season. He could be especially valuable in PPR formats. 

It seems many are also liking the potential value of the Panthers second round draft pick Curtis Samuel out of the 2017 rookie class. His best value could be in the mid-rounds based on these early rankings (unless your draft has defensive players).

Written By Tripp Morgan

Follow @TrippMorgan6 and @Cat_Chronicles for the latest surrounding the Carolina Panthers.


Article Thumbnail Photo by Jesse Fraetis.

Do These Prospect Visits Show Carolina Panthers Want To "Evolve?"

One word has summed up the Carolina Panthers off-season for fans, media, and analysts alike... "EVOLVE." Ever since Rivera muttered the phrase in regards to the offense at the end of the season, the outside world has been trying to figure it out. As we have gotten closer to the draft, we may be getting a pretty good idea judging by a few of the prospect visits the Panthers have brought in.

Each season NFL teams are allotted 30 draft prospects to bring in for visits and/or workouts at the team facilities. In most cases, in the Panthers case anyway, these are the players you can start getting the best judge of interest in. There have been three particular players the Panthers have shown interest in that fit roughly the same mold and could help "evolve" this offense and give Cam Newton another weapon. They are RB/WR Christian McCaffrey, RB/WR Curtis Samuel, and RB Alvin Kamara.

In a year where Jonathan Stewart is turning 30 and has battled injuries, seeing Dave Gettleman and Ron Rivera hosting running back prospects isn't surprising. But each of these running backs offer something new to the Panthers offense, and that's the ability to line up outside or in the slot at receiver.

Having a running back with the ability to line up as a receiver can create all kinds of mismatches for opposing defenses. Many question whether offensive coordinator Mike Shula can properly use a player like this, but who really knows as the most versatile player he has had with Carolina was Ted Ginn, who now resides with NFC SOuth rival New Orleans. Between Shula and Cam Newton, Ginn has had the best years of his career in Charlotte. During the 2015 season Shula constantly used Ginn's speed to create mismatches. Like the one here (fast forward to 1:55) where a linebacker was covering Ginn. Good times.

With Ginn in the slot and the Falcons sending a blitzing safety from the left, it left Ginn matched up alone with the linebacker. There was one safety left up top, but Ginn is the only receiver on the three wide set who crosses field, leaving the safety in no man's land with two other receivers to his right. As soon as Newton realizes the safety doesn't adjust, he lofts it up downfield for Ginn to use his speed to go get it. 

Now, I'm not comparing Ginn to prospects like McCaffrey, just simply showing what the use of proper mismatches with players who create separation can do. The hottest name surrounding the Panthers draft right now, Christian McCaffrey, has been a master of this in college. You can look up highlights all day, but here's one where he runs a route out of the back field and breaks a linebacker down one-on-one and takes it all the way after finding the seam.

Alvin Kamara shot up teams boards after posting explosive combine numbers. His versatility in both the running and receiving game is what helped land him at Tennessee. That along with his combine performance is what will help him in the NFL as well. 

This isn't the big play like McCaffrey's above, but it's a good example of the mismatch caused by the running back motioning out of the backfield. Tennessee scored twice in this game on this exact same play. You'll notice two defenders on one receiver near the back of the end zone leaving Kamara wide open. 

Chances are you saw Curtis Samuel of Ohio State play at some point last season. He dominated the final drive in double overtime that propelled the Buckeyes over arch rival Michigan.

Another play where the linebacker matches up with the running back coming out of the back field. The quarterback slightly under-throws the pass here causing a contested catch that Samuel still comes down with. A little more on the pass and it's an easy touchdown catch.

The Panthers have visited with all of these running backs along with Leonard Fournette, who is another hot name associated with the Panthers. These takes here are not a spite to Fournette and his game. I still like Fournette and think he can be successful in the NFL. I also believe he has better hands than many anticipate, but the Panthers need versatility if they are going to truly "evolve" the offense. Having another power running back wouldn't really do that. 

With that said, it's also entirely possible Carolina brought in the likes of Curtis Samuel and Alvin Kamara in case they chose not to go McCaffrey at eight. It seems pretty evident the Panthers like Fournette just as much as they do McCaffrey and if he falls to eight, we could see them take him and get either Samuel or Kamara later. They could also go defense at eight if a guy they really like is still there and get one of the two later. The only problem with that is McCaffrey is much more polished in running, receiving, and returning than the other two. Not to mention you are then tying up two draft picks on running backs.

When it all boils down to it, we can only guess what Rivera meant by "evolve." Hell, Gettleman said in his post season presser that it wasn't really the proper term to use, so who knows? Nobody but the people in the front office really know what direction they want to go a week out from the draft. Even they probably still don't know. It could all come down to who falls and who doesn't. 

Written By Tripp Morgan

Follow @TrippMorgan6 and @Cat_Chronicles for the latest news and updates on the Carolina Panthers.

Article thumbnail photo by Jesse Fraetis. 


Leonard Fournette Will Visit Panthers Next Week.

The Panthers will meet with top running back prospect Leonard Fournette out of LSU next week. 

Things started stirring on Wednesday when neither head coach Ron Rivera or Dave Gettleman showed up at LSU's pro day. It seems now that's because they knew they would be bringing him to Charlotte to meet. Running backs coach Jim Skipper and offensive coordinator Mike Shula both made the trip to Louisiana for the pro day.

Fournette made another impression when he weighed in at 228 pounds, down from 250 at the combine and back to his college playing weight. When asked about the weight at the combine, Fournette said it was "water weight" and he would be losing it. Fournette commented on this to Charlotte Observer's Jourdan Rodrigue later.

“I think some (teams) wanted to see if I could get down to that size. I think it was a plus for me. ... I might be 250 playing, so I just wanted to show them that I can do what I need to do to get my business in order.” 

It seems the closer the draft gets, the chances of Fournette being around at eight are getting slimmer to many. Carolina has stated all off season that they want to be able to run Cam less to help preserve him for the long haul. Jonathan Stewart's recent one-year extension was more of a cap space move than anything else and Fournette could be a bruising replacement when Stewart is gone. But then again.

Then with all of this you have the Christian McCaffrey rumors at an all-time high and he could be a big help in "evolving" the offense and be a key weapon to Cam Newton as well. Buckle up Panthers fans, the next few weeks are going to be interesting.

Written By Tripp Morgan

Follow @TrippMorgan6 and @Cat_Chronicles for the latest news and updates surrounding the Carolina Panthers.

Article photo by Jesse Fraetis.



Christian McCaffrey To The Panthers Just Gained More Steam.

The last few weeks have been full of mock picks by analysts and fans alike for who the Panthers will take at pick eight. A popular name lately has been Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey.

McCaffrey was being mocked in the late first, early second round before the combine but has steadily gained steam since his combine and pro day. Visits  and talks with teams have certainly also played into that.

Stats like how he had more yards per carry versus eight man boxes than any other running back in the nation, including LSU's Leonard Fournette, have also pushed it.

More and more mocks seems to be following Josh Norris' and Jourdan Rodrigue's early prediction of him fitting in with the Panthers at the eighth pick. Now's Daniel Jeremiah has him to Carolina in the same spot with his mock draft released Wednesday. Then this tweet later on the night from Peter Schrager really got the tweets flowing.


Sure, McCaffrey could go to one of the seven teams before Carolina, but the fit here just seems to perfect for a team looking to "evolve." Throw in the fact that Panthers recently wide receivers coach Lance Taylor was McCaffrey's running back coach during his tenure at Stanford and it makes even more sense. 

McCaffrey would bring versatility to a Panthers offense that needs another weapon for Cam Newton. His running and receiving ability being used the right way could be tough to plan for on opposing defenses. I know what you're thinking, "Would Shula know how to use him correctly?" I believe so, and that's also where his former coach Lance Taylor comes in. If anyone know how to use him, it should be him.

This will likely grow the closer we get to the draft and could even change between now and then like it has drastically since the combine, but one things for sure, whatever name is announced at pick eight should be one we've all heard. 

Written By Tripp Morgan

Follow @TrippMorgan6 and @Cat_Chronicles for news and updates surrounding the Carolina Panthers.

Article Thumbnail Image by Jesse Fraetis

Combine Watch: Running Backs Numbers

Day one of the combine got underway this morning. Running backs have been a heavy favorite for the Panthers at pick eight. Here's a quick combine overview of potential running backs for the Panthers with the eighth overall pick.



People were quick to criticize and become skeptical when Fournette put up a measly 28.5" vertical to start the days drills after showing up weighing 240lbs. Critics were later impressed after he put up a 4.51 forty yard dash number at 240 pounds. His forty time was only .02 slower than both Cook (210lbs) and McCaffrey (202lbs) and is also the fastest for a running back weighing 240 or more since 2003. Fournette said Thursday that five pounds of that was "water weight." Fournette will catch some slack for the vertical and not participating in the broad jump. He will reportedly do his bench press at the LSU Pro Day. 

40 YARD DASH- 4.51 seconds (T-10th)

VERTICAL JUMP- 28.5" (T-18th)


BENCH PRESS- Opted to do at his Pro Day. 



HEIGHT- 5' 10", WEIGHT- 210 LBS

Dalvin Cook had a solid outing while participating in all the events. He showed off his strength in the bench press. Much like Fournette, his vertical wasn't real impressive. Last years running backs averaged a 34.5" vertical.

40 YARD DASH- 4.49 seconds (T-8th)

VERTICAL JUMP- 30.5" (T-14th)

BROAD JUMP- 116" (T-11th)

BENCH PRESS- 22 Reps (T-3rd)



McCaffrey jumped through the roof with a second best vertical jump on the day at 37.5", but showed his lack of strength with a low 10 rep bench press. McCaffrey made his money showing his footwork through the running drills later, showcasing his quick feet.

40 YARD DASH- 4.48 (T-7th)

VERTICAL JUMP- 37.5" (T-2nd)

BROAD JUMP- 121" (T-6th)

BENCH PRESS- 10 (2nd Worst)


Panthers fans hoping for a running back at pick eight should be pleased with the majority of all this. Each player has a number you would like to see better, but they all have the most important thing, good film.

McCaffrey is still a stretch for the Panthers at eight. I personally don't think Cook will be selected by the Panthers at eight due to his off field history. You would like to see Fournette participate in the broad jump, particularly after the low vertical. But again they all have good tape. Stay tuned for other position group results.

Follow @TrippMorgan6 and Cat_Chronicles for the latest news and updates on the Carolina Panthers.

Article photo by Jesse Fraetis.