Hope's are high once again for the Carolina Panthers heading into 2017 following a slew of strong free agent signings in the off-season and bolstering up the offense in the recent draft with play makers and protection for franchise quarterback Cam Newton.
The media has taken notice as well and some are liking a bounce back year for Cam Newton and the Panthers new-look offense. Big free agent signings such as bringing back home Julius Peppers and Captain Munnerlyn have many seeing this defense getting back into the top ten after being one of only two teams to be there for three consecutive years before dropping back last year.
In a recent rankings article, Gil Brandt has the Panthers ranked 9th on his top ten list of most talented teams in the NFL heading into 2017. Only the Atlanta Falcons (3rd) also made the list, although I imagine the Buccaneers weren't far outside of the top ten. Here's what Brandt had to say. You can read the full article here.
9) Carolina Panthers
It can sometimes seem as if quarterback Cam Newton is perpetually at a career crossroads, but I think he'll have a big year this year. He's certainly not lacking for weapons, with rookie matchup nightmares Christian McCaffrey and Curtis Samuel joining running back Jonathan Stewart and tight end Greg Olsen on offense. Signing Matt Kalil to protect Newton's blind side was a key improvement. This team looks capable of scoring 500 points. On defense, Carolina helped itself by bringing back defensive end Julius Peppers and cornerback Captain Munnerlyn and signing safety Mike Adams. If healthy, linebacker Luke Kuechly is one of the best at his position, while there's no reason defensive tackle Kawann Short shouldn't perform.
It was clear following a highly anticipated 2016 season with a losing record that Carolina had to make some changes. They did just that in one the busier off-seasons Panthers fans have seen in years.
If everyone pans out and can stay healthy, the Panthers could be right back playing again in January for the fourth time in five years.
Written By Tripp Morgan