Panthers Ace Draft and I'm still a Fournette Fan

Panthers Ace Draft and I'm still a Fournette Fan

I realize the Panthers decided to "evolve" their offense. Their identity was that of a power running scheme until this week. The top two selections proved the team brass wasn't lying when they nabbed a pair of 200 pound running backs in The Holy Terror and in Pest Wild.

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Seven Names To Watch For Tonight By Mel Mayock

Seven Names To Watch For Tonight By Mel Mayock

Today is Draft Day!  Who do you want?  Who do you think the Panthers get?  It is the ultimate reality show for NFL fans as the drama unfolds tonight at 8:00 EST.  There’s no better way, as a Panthers fan, to watch the drama unfold than to hang out with the #C3 gang and fellow Panther fans.  Tune in starting at 7:45 by clicking here to get to our Youtube Channel.

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NFL Comparisons: Fournette, Stewart, and Bo Jackson

NFL Comparisons: Fournette, Stewart, and Bo Jackson

The comparison has been around probably since Leonard Fournette was in the 8th grade and flattened a SENIOR defensive back in high school. The DB's name? Tyrann Mathieu. It looks like Bo Jackson v. 2.0 has finally manifested himself as we enter the final week before the 2016 NFL Draft.

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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. 

 

Like it or not, Leonard Fournette is the First Round Target

Like it or not, Leonard Fournette is the First Round Target

Okay, so I should have known NOT to try to communicate anything of any substance via Twitter. Explaining reasons for anything doesn't work well among that Short Attention Span Theater crowd, who would rather click and "like" a pretty picture than actually go click and have to truly READ WORDS, so I'll have to write this article to spell some things out.

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Could the Panthers Trade Kawann Short to San Francisco?

Could the Panthers Trade Kawann Short to San Francisco?

Post-UFA signings and pre-draft days make for a long, roughly six-week wait, and every possible scenario gets discussed ad nauseum to the point where we fans just want the dadgum draft to happen already!

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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.

 


 

Fournette May be a Poor Fit for the Jags at 4th Overall

Fournette May be a Poor Fit for the Jags at 4th Overall

I was having a discussion with my expanded Panthers crew/family via direct message on Twitter this morning because I don't do nearly as much public "tweeting" as I used to do...especially on non-Panthers matters. Okay, so I post cat pics too but that's neither here nor there. My point is that, after discussing Fournette ad nauseum for what seems like eons & decades now, I think I may be on to something.

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Experts Everywhere Are Torn On The Carolina Panthers First Round Pick.

Just before the combine it seemed every analyst knew where the Panthers were going at pick eight, that was with LSU RB Leonard Fournette. Since the combine and free agency has taken place, there has been a lot of shifting gears (as there is nearly every year) as to where they think Carolina will go with high first round pick. Here are the latest pics we've seen.

CBS SPORTS- DE JONATHAN ALLEN- ALABAMA

 

SB NATION- RB LEONARD FOURNETTE- LSU

WALTER FOOTBALL- DE DEREK BARNETT- TENNESSEE

BLEACHER REPORT- CB MARSHON LATTIMORE- OHIO STATE

ROTOWORLD, JOSH NORRIS- WR COREY DAVIS- WESTERN MICHIGAN

Some other picks include Daniel Jeremiah of NFL.com with RB Leonard Fournette, Pro Football Focus' Steve Palazzolo with WR Mike Williams, and Sporting News with TE OJ Howard out of Alabama. 

As you can see the general consensus has changed right much since the combine and mainly free agency. Two of my favorite picks right now on this list are O.J. Howard and Corey Davis. Both could be an immediate impact on offense and are certainly possible at number eight. Howard could be a great complement and future replacement for Greg Olsen, while Davis could be an explosive, play making wide receiver the Panthers missed in '16 and elevate the passing game to a new level along with Kelvin Benjamin. 

Written By Tripp Morgan

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

Article thumbnail photo by Jesse Fraetis.

Panthers are set for Fournette

Panthers are set for Fournette

By now, every free agent acquisition the Panthers have made this year has been already posted about whether on here, facebook, twitter, or dozens of other sites. I'm here to look at the bigger picture going forward and what all these signings mean for the draft.

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Carolina will have to trade up to Second Overall to get Fournette

Carolina will have to trade up to Second Overall to get Fournette

This is one of the times of year, after the Super Bowl and before free agency for veterans, when fans and analysts alike take a look at the incoming rookie class and attempt to project where these kids get chosen and try to figure who is likely to go where. However, historically speaking, most "mock drafts" do well to get more than 4-5 picks out of the first round correct. It's the nature of the beast. With a top-ten pick this season, the Carolina Panthers' #8 overall selection falls close to...

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Five Options For The Panthers At Pick 8

Five Options For The Panthers At Pick 8

One upside to a crappy season by the Panthers is that they get a pick 8th in April 27th’s draft.  The last time the Panthers picked in the top 10, they selected Luke Kuechly.  This is an opportunity to add talent to one of the more talented teams in the league.  Let’s take a quick look at some options and why I like ...

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