Post-Draft Review: Carolina Panthers

Jimmy Clausen (Getty Images)

The Carolina Panthers came into April's NFL Draft with five needs. They still have three that need to be addressed as we get closer to the start of training camps in early August.

Pre-Draft Needs:  DT, WR, DE, QB, CB

Players Added

Round 2-Jimmy Clausen/QB - Many teams had a second-round grade for Clausen, so it shouldn't come to a surprise that he fell out of the first round. Clausen is a strong-armed passer, but needs work in a few areas of his game. He figures to back up Matt Moore this season, but could challenge for a starting job in year two.


Round 3-Brandon LaFell/WR - LaFell has really good size and is a polished receiver. While his speed is considered less than average by NFL standards, he runs well after the catch. It's not out of the question that he challenges for a starting job in his rookie season.


Round 3-Armanti Edwards/WR - The collegiate quarterback will transition to receiver. Edwards, some scouts believe, has good enough short area quickness to play the slot.


Round 4-Eric Norwood/LB - Here's a talented linebacker who figures to compete for a starting job as a rookie. Norwood is expected to challenge for a starting job on the strong-side.


Round 6-Greg Hardy/DE - Hardy is a talented pass rusher, but scouts question his work ethic. He also had a lengthy injury history in college. If he brings a better commitment to his game as a rookie and he stays healthy, Hardy could not only make the team, but he could get into the rotation at end right away.


Round 6-David Gettis/WR - Gettis has good size and good hands. However, he lacks top-end speed. That's why he dropped down draft boards. He should be able to challenge for a roster spot as a rookie considering Carolina is pretty weak at receiver.


Round 6-Jordan Pugh/S - Some felt he should have been a cornerback at the next level, but Pugh is expected to line up at free safety in Carolina's 4-3 defensive scheme. It's also possible that he competes for a job in their nickel defense as a slot defender.


Round 6-Tony Pike/QB - Most teams had a third or fourth-round grade on Pike, but he dropped some after a very disappointing NFL Combine performance. Carolina really didn't need to add another developmental quarterback, but they obviously felt Pike's value was too good to pass up in the sixth round.


Round 7-R.J. Stanford/CB - Stanford is really a gifted athlete, but needs work in several areas of his game. He's a solid developmental prospect who figures to find a spot at the end of the roster or on the practice squad.


Round 7-Robert McClain/CB - The rookie defensive back figures to challenge for a roster spot in a dime role. However, he's talented enough to eventually challenge for a nickel job down the line.



Post-Draft Needs

Defensive Tackle - After releasing both of their starting defensive tackles from the past few seasons, that position became a huge priority in the draft. However, not one was selected. Instead, they'll turn to some past drafted players and some players signed from other teams to fill the void.


Defensive End - With veteran Julius Peppers playing with the Chicago Bears, defensive end became a need position for the Panthers. Hardy is very talented, but some question his work ethic. A lot will be put on second-year DE Everette Brown to fill Peppers' void.


Cornerback - This team really needs competition for their nickel and dime roles. It remains to be seen if both of their seventh-round picks will be able challenge for those jobs.

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