3 Things to Look Out for in Panthers Minicamp

The Carolina Panthers had one of their most exciting offseasons in recent history. It's time to see how it translates on the field.

It's safe to say that the Carolina Panthers have constructed one of their best offseasons in team history -- at least on paper.

General manager Marty Hurney has been incredible in his second attempt at the job, and majority owner David Tepper has been all in. This has led to some impressive free agent signings -- along with one of the best drafts in recent memory.

The piece that will put everything together for this roster, is a healthy Cam Newton. Fortunately, that seems to be the case heading into the Panthers' mandatory minicamp on Tuesday.

Minicamp will give us the first look at a competitive environment, where the hungriest players will make the 53-man roster. Here are three things to look out for in these practice sessions.

1. Cam Newton's arm strength

The downfall of the Panthers season last year happened after the team went 6-2 -- when Newton's arm struggles became apparent. He sat out the final two games of the season, and went on to get his second shoulder surgery.

The 30-year-old quarterback has been a leader and blessing for this team, but the second surgery conjured up some questions about his future. He wasn't able to throw in OTAs, but he is finally back and cleared to throw the football.

Minicamp will be the very first test to see if Newton can regain his velocity and accuracy. That will be especially important this season, because of his receiving crew. The addition of Chris Hogan adds a deep threat that will need the ball -- while D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel are expected to have breakout seasons.

Newton's arm strength will be the key to success for this Panthers roster that is thoroughly put together.

2. Depth in the secondary

The one position that wasn't really touched up on throughout the offseason was the secondary. Besides the re-signing of Eric Reid, the Panthers are going into the summer with the same crew that allowed 240 passing yards per game.

Rashaan Gaulden is one person that's expected to step up as both a safety, and nickel corner. He played less than 20 percent of the team's snaps last season, but he learned about the NFL. He is expected to take the starting role at safety, and really step up.

James Bradberry and Donte Jackson will battle for the No. 1 cornerback spot, and it's very possible that Jackson wins that battle. The second-year corner has lightning speed, and the he has an upside that surpasses Bradberry. Another corner that could play a big role in the nickel is Corn Elder, who had a great performance in OTAs.

The Panthers likely feel confident about their secondary, because of the incredible pass rushing unit that they put together.

3. Pass rushing unit

Carolina's pass rushing unit will likely be the most exciting and gifted piece of the team -- aside from Christian McCaffrey. They added Gerald McCoy, Brian Burns, Christian Miller and Bruce Irvin to the squad.

The Panthers also have Mario Addison, who is coming off of a nine sack season. There is a very good possibility that the Panthers have the best defensive line in the NFL, and minicamp will be the first opportunity to see that in action.

Burns is the No. 16 overall pick and he displays a quickness and speed that the Panthers haven't had in years. Miller is an Alabama product that brings toughness to the team, while Irvin brings incredible veteran experience. This will provide an edge-rushing group that will come from all angles and with ridiculous speed.

This all comes together with the addition of McCoy -- who is one of the best defensive tackles in the NFL. He will anchor this defense in the trenches, which will make everyone's lives easier.

This dominance on the defensive front will speed up decisions that have to be made by opposing quarterbacks, and the secondary will reap benefits from it.

Comments (3)
No. 1-3

P.S. Really great to see an article that is exclusive to PantherMaven


A really great article. Full of optimism and sound analysis of certain facets of the team. The only thing missing is a prediction on the win - loss record for the coming season. I expect to see that before the exhibition games are complete.


First thing's first, let's see a healthy Cam!