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The 2018 Carolina Panthers just couldn’t catch a break. They finished the season 7-9 and with an injured QB. Can they stay healthy and make a playoff run in 2019?
Let’s look at how they drafted
|Brian Burns||16||DE||Florida State|
|Greg Little||37||OT||Ole Miss|
|Will Grier||100||QB||West Virginia|
|Dennis Daley||212||OT||South Carolina|
|Damion Jeanpiere||WR||Nicholls State|
TEAM 2019 Outlook
The first offensive player off the board for the Panthers was Ole Miss OT Greg Little. Little will line up at LT for the Panthers and should make an immediate impact. He plays with hunger and dominance but can be unpredictable at times. The Panthers will need to work hard to get the best out of him. He can be a great or also a forgotten player. Only the right training will help him to shine into the player he can be.
West Virginia QB Will Grier was picked 100 in the draft. We all know that QB Cam Newton has had trouble with his shoulder over the years and the Panthers have struggled when he isn’t on the field. Opinion on Grier is divided, personally, I think he can be a starter in the NFL and could one day be in the top tier of QBs. Whatever he ends up being, the Panthers have a more than capable replacement if or when Newton goes down again.
Florida RB Jordan Scarlett was the 154th overall pick and should sit in the depth chart behind Christian McCaffery. He averaged 12 carries a game at 5.4 yards-per-carry across his college career, so is more than capable of being a backup when McCaffery needs a rest.
UDFA signing Elijah Holyfield will sit in the RB3 role but will push Scarlett all the way for game time in 2019. The Georgia Bulldogs RB had a stellar 2018, rushing for over 1,000 yards at 6.4, with seven TDs to his name. Expect training camp to get heated between these two this summer.
On defense, the Panthers added some fire. Florida State DE Brian Burns was the 16th overall pick and could be the pick-up of the Draft. Burns is a gifted athlete with a very high upside, he plays out of his skin and will help the Panthers defense improve around him. He is a dynamic player, with great burst and flexibility. 123 total tackles, 35 for loss and 23.0 sacks across three seasons, making him one of the most sought after player in the Draft. The fact that he fell to 16th overall is pure luck for the Panthers.
Not to be content with Burns, the Panthers lined up and selected Alabama DE Christian Miller with the 115th overall pick. This too was a steal for the Carolina front office. Miller made 8.0 sacks in his final season with Bama but is always working hard off the ball to make the plays happen for his team. Expect him to start the season on the LB depth chart behind Antwione Williams.
Great draft class from the Panthers. If they can keep Cam Newton healthy in 2019, they will push the Saints all the way for the NFC South title.