The Evolving Roster

The Panthers have made some changes in Free Agency. <br><br> They've let people go, they've signed new faces. <br><br> Chris Martin breaks down the probable depth chart as it stands today.

QB: Delhomme, Weinke, Rutherford and Peete (assuming he's re-signed.) We're good there.

RB: Foster, Goings, Smart, Robertson, Hoover (if needed), and Davis (assuming he recovers.) Possibly the biggest question position, but I think we're good there.)

FB: Hoover, Goings, Cramer. Could it be any better?

C: Mitchell. We could count Nelson, but his return to football is doubtful. This is an area I think we need to address.

OG: Wharton, Wahle, Reyes, Tylski. Same as C regarding Nelson. Another area we should improve at in the draft. Hopefully we get a tweener, a guy that can play OG and C.

OT: Gross, Wharton, Wahle, Fordham. Depending on where they decide to put Wharton and Wahle, the Panthers will pick up an OG or an OT... or both... in the draft.

TE: Mangum, Siedman, Gaines. Not the best receiving TEs in the league, but they can block, which is more important in Carolina's Offense. Only way we draft a TE is if Heath Miller falls to 14.

WR: Smith, Colbert, Proehl, Hankton, Ross, Carter (Assuming he returns to football shape after knee surgery.) This position's an iffy one. If Carter is 100% and looks to stay healthy, he should fill the gap OK. If not, the Panthers may want to pick up a wideout in the draft. They may decide to pick up a "bargain" receiver in the second or third round. After all, Moose was a 2nd rounder, as was Colbert, and both of those guys made an impact last year.

DT: Jenkins, Buckner, Moorhead, Carstens, and Jordan. A solid group of tackles, IMO. We're set there.

DE: Rucker, Peppers, Wallace, Rasmussen. Kemp Rasmussen is the weakest link on this group. I could see us picking up a DE, but he won't be a high-round pick.

OLB: Witherspoon, Short, Fields (assuming his physical goes OK and he re-signs with the team.) Allen and Armstead are both UFAs right now, but could re-sign. Sean Tufts also shows some promise @ LB but may be better suited for MLB. I don't see LB as a need on this team.

MLB: Morgan, Ciurciu, Tufts (?). See OLB re: Tufts. Morgan has a tendency to miss games, but Ciurciu did fabulously in his place last year, allowing Witherspoon to play a full year at his spot. Again, not a real need, IMO, unless the team is not planning to tender Morgan next year because of his injuries. In that case, MLB should be a high pick.

CB: Lucas, Gamble, Manning, Hampton, Jackson, Wesley. This is a position that the Panthers wanted to address in FA. Mission accomplished. Some decent ball-players will be released in late August. Absolutely no draft picks here.

SS: Minter, McCree. Minter is aging but still a heavy hitter. Is said to be negotiating an extension, so the team must still be high on him. The McCree signing will give us some needed depth at safety. Only viable safety option in the draft IMO is Thomas Davis, and if the team extends Minter after signing McCree, what are the chances we'll pick up (and pay) a first-rounder to ride the pine? None. No picks here.

FS: McCree, Branch. Branch is considered the weakest link in our secondary. Whether he really deserves that distinction is a matter of personal opinion. I personally do not think he played that badly for a first-year starter who wore an arm cast for 7 weeks or so. He will compete for the starting job training camp, and you gotta believe he has the advantage right now, considering he has 2 years' experience in Fox's scheme. It would be silly to enter the season with only 3 safeties (Minter, McCree, and Branch; Richardson and Tillman are FAs and not expected back) so I wouldn't be surprised to see the Panthers move one of our CBs to fill the spot. That way they keep a decent corner but still have the depth needed at safety.

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