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April 30, 2007

Davis unlikely to play safety

With the Panthers desperate for safety help, after not finding it in the draft, there's a sudden rally cry for the team to move linebacker Thomas Davis to safety. Thomas_davis

Davis played safety in college at Georiga. He also played safety very early in his NFL career. You might remember that didn't go very well. Besides, Davis has bulked up the last two years and might be too big for the position.

The bottom line here is coach John Fox said Sunday he has no plans to move Davis to safety, although he didn't completely rule out that scenario in an emergency situation. The thinking is the Panthers have invested the better part of two seasons in developing Davis as a linebacker. He had some flashes last season and the Panthers believe he's ready for a break-out year.

There's no sense in ruining that possibility. The Panthers can find safety help somewhere else.

Posted by Observer Sports on April 30, 2007 at 08:57 PM | Permalink | Comments (21)

Free agent pickups trickle out for Panthers

   Nothing's official yet because the Panthers won't confirm their undrafted free agents until they actually have the signed contracts in hand. But word is trickling out about guys they've agreed to terms with.
   In addition to Coastal Carolina safety Quinton Teal, already reported in today's paper, others who have agreed to terms (according to agents and hometown newspaper reports) include:
   South Florida offensive lineman Thed Watson, Florida fullback Billy Latsko, Buffalo tight end Chad Upshaw, Clemson offensive lineman Nathan Bennett and Michigan defensive lineman Rondell Biggs.

Posted by Observer Sports on April 30, 2007 at 01:57 PM | Permalink | Comments (23)

April 29, 2007

Take a shot on Chris Leak?

Just a random thought as we're sitting here waiting for the next pick by the Panthers: If Chris Leak is available when the Panthers pick in the seventh round, why not take him?

   Yeah, the Panthers don't really have a need at quarterback. But the seventh round is nothing more than a roll of the dice, anyway. Drafting Leak, a Charlotte native, would win the Panthers some points with their fans, even if he doesn't make the team.

   Leak's lack of height is the reason he wasn't picked higher. But he's only an inch or so shorter than current No. 3 quarterback Brett Basanez. Plus, Leak's got a national championship at Florida under his belt and a lot of big-game experience.

   Taking a seventh-round shot on Leak would be a no-lose move by the Panthers.

Posted by Observer staff on April 29, 2007 at 01:55 PM | Permalink | Comments (44)

April 28, 2007

Johnson fills DE need. Next up: S, PR

  Getting defensive end Charles Johnson in the third round filled one of the biggest remaining needs. Johnson can fit into the rotation right away behind Julius Peppers and Mike Rucker and could be the eventual replacement for Rucker in the starting lineup. Johnson's not a premeir pass rusher, but he can play the run well. With Rucker coming back from knee surgery, Johnson and second-year pro Stanley McClover might have to play a lot early next season.

   The Panthers still have two major needs to address Sunday: Safety and punt returner. They should be able to get a decent punt returner on the second day, but it's looking more and more like they're going to have to look for safety help in what's left of free agency. There's not much left out there and they may have to hope that a decent safety is released elsewhere.

Posted by Observer Sports on April 28, 2007 at 10:41 PM | Permalink | Comments (24)

Kalil really was 'best available'

   For once, the Panthers really did draft the "best available player''. The pick of Southern California center Ryan Kalil had nothing to do with need. That's because the Panthers already had three guys who can play center in Justin Hartwig, Geoff Hangartner and Will Montgomery. Now, they've got four and even more flexibility on an offensive line that already had some depth.

   The run on defensive ends right before the Panthers picked left them without any prospects at that position. Or at safety. Kalil was, by far, the best player available.

   Now, the Panthers just have to find a place for him on the field. Oh, keep one thing in mind: Kalil also can long-snap. Veteran long-snapper Jason Kyle is costing about $900,000 toward the salary cap.

Posted by Observer Sports on April 28, 2007 at 09:12 PM | Permalink | Comments (35)

Value at 59 may be at DE

   As much as I'd like to see the Panthers get a safety with their second pick of the second round (59th overall from the Jets), there might not be good value there. Aside from Syracuse's Tanard Jackson, who is as much of a cornerback as he is a safety, I'm not seeing a safety worth this pick. The Panthers might be better off shooting for a defensive end, such as Notre Dame's Victor Abiamiri, Florida's Ray McDonald, Georgia's Charles Johnson or Texas' Tim Crowder.

Posted by Observer Sports on April 28, 2007 at 08:36 PM | Permalink | Comments (9)

Jarrett pick OK, but Panthers need safety

   Can't question the Dwayne Jarrett pick at all (unless you want to get into a discussion about Keary Colbert, the last receiver the Panthers drafted from USC). But I do have one question: Where or when are the Panthers going to get a starting safety, or two?

   They quickly are running out of time. Unless they use their next second-round pick on a safety, they could be in a very tough spot. You usually don't get instant starters much beyond the second or third round, and the Panthers need at least one instant starter at safety.

   All they have there right now is Mike Minter and there's a school of thought that the Panthers don't want him starting in his final season. But they might not have much choice. They might have to start Minter next to a rookie or a free agent that they pick up after the draft. And the free-agent pool of safeties isn't too spectacular right now.

Posted by Observer Sports on April 28, 2007 at 07:45 PM | Permalink | Comments (14)

Probably no safety in 1st round

You can probably scratch safety off the first-round plans for the Panthers, now that Miami's Brandon Meriweather is gone to New England. Look for Carolina to go for a tight end, defensive end or wide receiver.

Posted by Observer Sports on April 28, 2007 at 04:53 PM | Permalink | Comments (33)

Panthers getting close

We're closing in on the Panthers going on the clock again. Lots of good possibilities hanging out there:

Florida safety Reggie Nelson

Miami safety Brandon Meriweather

Penn State linebacker Paul Posluszny

Miami tight end Greg Olsen

LSU wide receiver Dwayne Bowe

Tennessee wide receiver Robert Meachem

Posted by Observer Sports on April 28, 2007 at 04:09 PM | Permalink | Comments (5)

Panthers trade a good move

You have to give the Panthers a big thumbs-up for making the trade with the Jets. They added a second-round pick (59th overall) which will get them a potential starter. They also may end up getting as good a player at No. 25 overall as they would have at No. 14.

They could have their choice of several safeties (and Reggie Nelson still might be on the board) and wide receivers.

Posted by Observer Sports on April 28, 2007 at 02:54 PM | Permalink | Comments (15)