The Carolina Panthers needed to improve on their disaster of an offense. There offense was easily the worst in the league with absolutely no passing game. The Jimmy Clausen experiment only lasted one year despite being taken in the 2nd rd of the 2010 NFL Draft. Clausen was completely over matched after replacing Matt Moore leaving them no choice but to look in the direction of a new QB. The Panthers still had some running game at times but with teams able to stack the line it made it extremely difficult. Carolina could have addressed some issues at the wide receiver position which was another weak spot but they spent most of their focus on the defense. Coach Ron Rivera career focus has been the defensive side of the ball so that should be no surprise. I will breakdown the Panthers picks from the offensive side of the ball in this draft recap.
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1st Round (1st Overall)- Cam Newton
Newton is a raw quarterback but is one of the most physically gifted players to ever be drafted. He has absolutely no experience in reading a defense so the Panthers will need to keep things simple while he learns. Newton will have plenty of struggles in his rookie season with teams looking to confuse him. His running ability should help from a fantasy perspective but he at best should only be a 3rd QB if on a roster.
5th Round (132nd Overall)- Kealoha Pilares
Pilares is a slot receiver out of Hawaii who is coming off a torn MCL in their bowl game. He has good speed off the line and out of breaks but does not have high end track speed so will not be much of a threat downfield. Pilares is a converted running back so has decent moves with the ball in his hands and could see some early playing time. Steve Smith is likely to be moved so he will battle David Gettis, Brandon LaFell and Armanti Edwards for playing time. Pilares however is just not in the right position to have much of an impact in his rookie season and will not be drafted in any fantasy league in almost any situation.
6th Round (203rd Overall)- Zachary Williams
Williams has a nice mean streak which should help him be capable run blocker. Likely a back-up guard, he will only provide depth at this time. He really needs to work on his pass protection to play on a regular basis but works hard enough to at least land a spot on the roster.
7th Round (244th Overall)- Lee Ziemba
Ziemba was a teammate with Cam Newton at Auburn. He did a decent job of pass blocking at the college level but will need to add some weight to stop from being pushed around in the NFL. He is more of a space eater than a blocker in the running game and can be pushed around at times even with his size. His size says tackle but does not have the movements right now to play there at this level.
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Other than Cam Newton, the Panthers did very little to improve a very sluggish offense. Their only chance for success is getting back their existing line healthy and find a way to pound the ball with Jonathan Stewart and Mike Goodson with DeAngelo Williams not likely to return. Unless Newton is one heck of a quick learner, I still see an offense that will struggle to produce first downs and points in almost any game this upcoming season. The only reason I can give the Panthers a reasonable grade is based on the potential of Newton