2015 Depth Charts: Carolina Panthers
• Cam Newton shows flashes of being Very Good, but the problem is that we haven’t seen it for long enough stretches to consider that to be his overall level. More play like he has to lead the Panthers to a late surge to win the NFC South would force us to rethink this next year though.
• Kelvin Benjamin wasn’t the standout in a fantastic class of rookie receivers, but he did make enough plays to be considered at least average heading into his second season. Now the key is adding some consistency to go along with the big plays to take the next step in his career.
• We were wary when deciding where to slot both of the Panthers top two cornerbacks. Neither played a large amount of snaps in 2014, but both played really well when they did.
• Is this the best defensive line in football? Well, they do feature three Very Good players, with Short and Lotulelei an impressive duo in the middle of the line. Johnson might not be great against the run, but his work as a pass rusher pushes him into that top bracket.
Defensive End: As good as three of the players on that defensive line are, the Panthers could upgrade at the other defensive end spot, with both Kony Ealy or Wes Horton struggling in 2014. Ealy was a rookie, so perhaps they will be expecting him to improve drastically in his second season, but they could still find a short term upgrade in free agency without spending too much.
Wide Receiver: They made have used a first round draft pick on Benjamin last year, but wide receiver is still very much a need for the Panthers heading into 2015. Both Cotchery and Brown are capable receivers, but adding another top target for Newton would be a big boost for the offense.
Offensive Line: It’s entirely possible that the only starter shown above who will be in the lineup come opening day will be Ryan Kalil. Left tackle looks to be the biggest need just now though, so look for the Panthers to try to address that through free agency or the draft.