The Panthers May Look to Grab a Receiver Early in the NFL Draft
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At times in 2017 the Carolina Panthers offense was a tough watch, but by season’s end they did provide a few solid contributors in Fantasy. With the aid of his added rushing value (six touchdowns), Cam Newton finished the season as a Top 5 QB. As hard as it can be to watch Newton throw the ball at times with his accuracy issues, he continues to find himself among the top tier QBs year after year. I expect similar results from Cam in 2018 given the fact that there have been no major improvements made to the weapons around him. Newton should once again finish as a QB1 in 2018, especially if his rushing totals remain similar to those in 2017.
It looks as though the Panthers are willing to go into the 2018 season with Christian McCaffrey as their primary ball carrier. Coming off a 2017 season in which he hauled in 80 passes, the hype may start to get a little strong on McCaffrey if he sees an uptick in touches in the running game. If he gets consistent work as a three-down back, McCaffrey could push for RB1 value in PPR formats. With limited potential as a touchdown scorer, his appeal in standard leagues will likely be as an RB2.
Going into the draft, the Panthers’ primary focus should be to find a playmaker at receiver. Devin Funchess has some appeal in standard Fantasy leagues, but this team is lacking a legitimate threat that can score from anywhere on the field. Outside of the that, I expect this team to fill in some depth on the defensive side of the ball. Finding a pass rusher and help in the secondary will be on the top of the list.
Team Needs: WR, CB, DE
Projected Top Three Picks
First Round: D.J. Moore, WR Maryland
Second Round: Sam Hubbard, DE Ohio State
Third Round: Terrell Edmunds, S Virginia Tech
D.J. Moore could give the Panthers the playmaker that they have been lacking on the outside. Although he doesn’t present the ideal height for an outside receiver, his short area quickness can lend to plenty of yards after catch. He can work the middle of the field and can catch well in traffic. He has a very high ceiling, but his route-running will need to be polished to reach his potential. But he should round into a very solid WR2 on this team. Moore could be worth a look late in Fantasy drafts in 2018 with his PPR potential.
Sam Hubbard could potentially be the heir apparent to Julius Peppers on this defense. He has the height, weight, and build that scouts look for in a quality defensive end. But his athleticism is not where it should be, which is why he will fall into the second round. The tape on Hubbard won’t blow you away, but he has the motor that keeps him going. He should come in and start for the Panthers opposite of Peppers and could be a factor in his rookie season, matched up against single blocking on his side.
Although not as physically gifted as his brother Tremaine, Terrell Edmunds is quite the prospect in his own right. He has the high-end speed and explosiveness that is coveted at the safety position. His inconsistencies in open field tackling will likely keep him from a starting job early on, he will still find a good role on special teams while he develops.
D.J. Moore Featured Image: (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
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