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Old 01-09-2008, 02:38 PM    (permalink
ShutDwn
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Default The Not So Elite Eight

Quote:
As we mentioned in the paper the other day, the Panthers coaching staff has suggested after the annual evaluation meetings that there are eight starting positions which need upgrading this offseason.

Upon thinking about it, at least five of them are fairly clear. But the rest might start cutting into some longtime favorites, and some guys who have achieved at a high level here.

It's clear that LT's one of them, and at least one G (Mike Wahle's showing his age, and has reached the cut-able portion of his contract). WR is obvious. RDE too, and FS.

Beyond that, it gets a little sticky, and even some of those spots could cause further shuffling. They might move Jordan Gross back to LT if they give him big money, and they'd be OK with Jeremy Bridges at RT. And it might be time to convince Justin Hartwig to play one of the guard spots so Ryan Kalil can start in the middle.

But that still leaves three jobs. It's likely that FB is one of them, which means fan favorite/free agent Brad Hoover might not be back. My guess is that RB's another, and they'll bring a guy in to help DeAngelo Williams, a guy not named DeShaun. TE's probably the last one, but the guys they have there are at least young and cheap.

Thoughts?
http://community.heraldonline.com/th...bout_the_eight


OK, here is my best guess on the eight positions:

1.DE
2.LT
3.FS
4.K
5.WR
6.FB
7.G?
8.RB? - supposedly Fox wants a power game again.

He mentions guard, I didn't really think/know we had an interior problem. I guess it makes sense, I mean we get absolutely no push. Maybe Wharton should move back inside where he is best.

I don't think one will be TE like he speculates. I think King is a good blocker, looks like a small tackle almost. Rosario to me is a guy I don't take off the field. He showed his talent with nice plays in the last games. Hard worker too, plays special teams.

Hoover, while a fan favorite isn't that great. He is a decent blocker and catches okay too. Getting a guy with more ability and younger legs would add more to the offense, as well as bring more power. Hillis like I mentioned in the other thread is a good guy to look at, he can pass catch very well.

I like that they want to improve, but eight positions is a lot to improve in one offseason. It is even harder to do it right. I hope they don't go ape **** in FA like they have in the past, there is nobody worth much that is out there other and Jared Allen. I heard Ernest Wilford was a FA, he is a guy who would be a good sidekick to Smith. Good size, consistent and plays hard ( He has out worked two first round picks, the guy wants to play).

If we do address all the positions, I think the best way is to bring in solid veterans through FA, don't spend a whole lot. Then draft smart and bring in pro ready guys, no more projects like Butler.

I think their are positions that I would draft and then ones I would look at in FA.


Drafting:
DE
RB?
FB
K
FS


FA:
RB?
G
WR
LT

Defensive end and Free safety too me should be our first two picks depending on what we do in free agency with the tackle position. Runningbacks can be found later, and obviously kickers and fullbacks too.

Free agency has a lot of lineman, not many receivers and basically no safeties. At runningback though, you have Michael Turner, who is a powerful runner, he and Deangelo would make a nice tandem with Turner getting the bulk. I pray that John Fox doesn't go for Jamal Lewis, to me that would be a huge mistake. Until this team proves it can keep defenders out of the backfield, having a guy like Lewis would be a mistake.
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Old 01-10-2008, 06:46 PM    (permalink
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My 9 would be

OT (whichever one isn't occupied by Gross)
RG
LG
RDE
FS
WR2
FB
RB
K

my guess as to their 8

OT
one G
RDE
WR2
TE
FB
RB
FS

Tackle we've discussed. Probably needs to be a draft pick. The guys available in FA will be too expensive and honestly aren't that good. The inside of the line DOES need to be blown up. Wahle is shell of his former self and we got pretty sub-par performance out of the RG spot last year. Getting just one guy there who can maul would be a big upgrade. Hell, even a Jeno James type who excels at pulling would be good. Someone who excels at SOMETHING is what we need at a guard spot. I think it might be unrealistic to replace both in this offseason with all the other needs, of course.

DE, who knows. Could be a pick, could be in house (ugh). What are the lower tier FA options? I dont think bringing in Jared Allen is realistic, but a stopgap guy on a Damione Lewis type deal wouldn't be terrible.

WR2 needs to be a FA. FB could be either. Hills, Schmitt (probably goes too high with bowl game hype) or Tony Richardson. Getting a strong lead blocker would revamp the run game more than most would think. I don't know what to do at TE. I like the guys we have there for now and most of the prospects in this years draft are receivers more than blockers. I think Eric Johnson will be back on the market this year, he used to be a pretty decent player...but again, not an elite blocker

I wouldn't go after Michael Turner. I like him, and the way he runs, but I have a feeling he's going to get paid like he's a proven top 10 RB when there's a very real chance he goes LaMont Jordan on us. I'd look into that next tier of guys who have proven they can run in the league but haven't gotten a real shot and see who'll come the cheapest. Guys like Chris Brown, Derrick Ward, LaBrandon Toefield, Justin Fargas. Honestly I'd much prefer to go to the draft and get a guy in the middle-late rounds but I doubt this regime does since they've been spruned by drafted RBs in the past.

Safety...come on, we all know what'll happen. It'll be touted as a top need, then we won't do anything about it and sign someone after initial cuts

K is tough. Kasay is still a fine kicker, but he sucks at kicking off. Baker isn't much better in that department so either we're going to find a new K, a new P, or carry three kickers...one as a kickoff specialist. Seeing as Baker just signed a long, expensive deal and Kasay is old, the most sensible thing is to get a new K. My one warning is, don't take for granted Kasay's consistency. He's been in the top half of the league when it comes to field goal kicking alone pretty much his entire career. That said, improving on kickoffs would go a long way to fixing our crap special teams. Something needs to be done here, and I honestly am glad I dont have to decide what
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Old 01-10-2008, 06:59 PM    (permalink
ShutDwn
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The thing with safety and people thinking that we will pick Phillips in the first is that we were in a much worse position last year at BOTH safety positions. We had Nate Salley as the starter at that point. What does Fox do come draft time? He passes on both Reggie Nelson and Brandon Merriweather. Nelson is a bigger playmaker than Phillips, and Merriweather while not as talented, played just as well in college. If passing on those two last year doesn't tell you something about John Fox's emphasis on the safety position or willingness to start a rookie safety I don't know what will.

One guy I would look out for is CJ Wilson, who could develop and be a surprise. He made the team for his special teams later in the season but I think he has some of the skills needed to be at least better than Cooper.

The thing I like about Hillis as a FB is that he is also a pretty good runner. He isn't just a blocker, he does it all including special teams. Shmitt is a big time guy right now, but I don't know if I see him as useful in other parts of the game such as receiving.

Also, I really don't think we will get Turner, I was just throwing his name out there.
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Old 01-10-2008, 09:18 PM    (permalink
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Earl Bennett has declared now, he is a WR from Vanderbilt. I would love to pick him up with a first day pick. To me he could possibly have an impact his rookie year because of his overall game.

One thing I thought of while typing this is that I think we should really take into account who can play special teams. Ours blocking wasn't that great and our coverage decent (Well, Richard Marshall was fantastic). If we draft guys who can also contribute on special teams. I think this could really improve our return game. It also makes me feel better that we at least get something out of our picks if they don't start. I also tend to think that the guys who go through special teams tend to want it more and are team oriented.

Take Dante Rosario for instance, I love this kid for a few reasons. First he has shown so much potential catching the ball over the last few weeks of the season, making some pretty athletic catches and running with the ball after. Secondly, he plays special teams and prides himself in it.

He to me is our answer to a receiving TE and King is a blocker and short yardage receiver. Rosario is definitely the guy I think will make a bigger impact next season (Not named Beason).
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Old 01-13-2008, 12:53 AM    (permalink
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The special teams guys are gold. That's what I love so much about Marshall. He thinks he should be starting right now, and perhaps rightfully so, but he doesn't dog it in any facet of the game. He still busts his ass gunning and is all over the field. I kinda liked what I started to see at the end of the year as our ST unit got healthy (Seward and Jamison). We picked up that Donte Curry guy too. I loved CJ Wilson after the draft, he has the same attitude as Marshall. Not sure what happened after that, he disappeared until the end of the year. Maybe the talent isn't all there but at least we went after a guy who'll bust his ass to get back on the field.

I'm almost certain we don't go safety 1st round, but I think there's a shot we'll pick one up later. DaJuan Morgan is someone who will play ST I guarantee. More of an all around a top character guy than a flashy playmaker, however. If he falls to the 4th I'd love him there. And I would be ok with a 3rd too. Not sure I'd be too happy if he goes higher, though. He doesn't have the upside to be an elite player in the league. He's solid in coverage and a good form tackler (but not really a knockout player like Harris/McCree). I haven't really been too impressed with any senior Ss but I haven't looked much, been more focused on OTs and RBs. All in all, I think I'd rather convert a CB. Give me Dwight Lowery and a training camp to convert him to S over Craig Steltz any day.
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Old 01-13-2008, 03:25 AM    (permalink
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Fox doesn't want a power game again.

Thats charlotte observer's words, he meant get back to the personality of having a good defense and a strong running game. Not necessarily a power running game.
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Old 01-13-2008, 09:16 PM    (permalink
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SchizophrenicBatman View Post
The special teams guys are gold. That's what I love so much about Marshall. He thinks he should be starting right now, and perhaps rightfully so, but he doesn't dog it in any facet of the game. He still busts his ass gunning and is all over the field. I kinda liked what I started to see at the end of the year as our ST unit got healthy (Seward and Jamison). We picked up that Donte Curry guy too. I loved CJ Wilson after the draft, he has the same attitude as Marshall. Not sure what happened after that, he disappeared until the end of the year. Maybe the talent isn't all there but at least we went after a guy who'll bust his ass to get back on the field.

I'm almost certain we don't go safety 1st round, but I think there's a shot we'll pick one up later. DaJuan Morgan is someone who will play ST I guarantee. More of an all around a top character guy than a flashy playmaker, however. If he falls to the 4th I'd love him there. And I would be ok with a 3rd too. Not sure I'd be too happy if he goes higher, though. He doesn't have the upside to be an elite player in the league. He's solid in coverage and a good form tackler (but not really a knockout player like Harris/McCree). I haven't really been too impressed with any senior Ss but I haven't looked much, been more focused on OTs and RBs. All in all, I think I'd rather convert a CB. Give me Dwight Lowery and a training camp to convert him to S over Craig Steltz any day.
I agree, I think we are better off converting someone to safety than picking someone who is a safety now. Such a shallow class this year. I think there are a few guys that can be viewed as tweeners and could play safety because they lack the speed to play up on receivers.
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