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Friday, July 07, 2006

2006 Divisional Predictions Part 6

NFC South

1. Carolina Panthers

The Panthers just could not get the offense going in the conference championship game against Seattle last year. Their defense did a poor job as well, but they were playing from the position of a wildcard team and should have been in a position to earn a bye week. This year they will look to get that week of rest and improve upon last season even though their division is getting a little stronger.

The Panthers lost some defensive personnel to free agency in the form of DE, Kemp Rasmussen (Sea), S’s, Marlon McCree (SD) and Indrees Bashir (Det), and LB’s, Brandon Short (NYG) and Will Witherspoon (Stl). For their losses the Panthers filled in with LB’s, Na’il Diggs (GB) and Keith Adams (Phi), DT’s, Damione Lewis (Stl) and Maake Kemoeatu (Bal) and DB’s, Shaun Williams (NYG), Reggie Howard (Mia), and Kevin McCadam (Atl). Their offense was mainly kept intact with the additions of C, Justin Hartwig (Ten), and WR, Keyshawn Johnson (Dal). It appears that Carolina ended up better for free agency this year.

In the draft, the Panthers took RB, DeAngelo Williams with their 1st pick sending a clear signal to DeShaun Foster that he needs to stay healthy and will be splitting carries this season again. For the next pick they took CB, Richard Marshall followed up by two 3rd round picks in LB, James Anderson and OT, Rashad Butler. The second day saw a S, TE, G, and a DE taken with the remainder of their picks.

Carolina seems improved on paper over last year. They will need to rely on a more balanced attack with an improved running game to earn their bye for the playoffs in this increasingly tough division. They may be fighting it out with Tampa for the top spot, but the Panthers are to the point where they are seasoned and should be able to take it barring injury.

Read More Here.

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