2011 Record: 6-10
PPG For: 25.4 (t-5th)
PPG Against: 26.8 (27th)
2012 Cap Number: $129,962,768
Draft Position: #8 Overall Pick
Just one year ago, the Panthers entered the offseason with every problem imaginable. The offense was historically bad, injured stars littered the roster, the coaching situation was a mess, and the guy pegged as the likely #1 overall pick was viewed as one of the riskiest top picks in recent memory. Today, the Panthers look to be one of the most promising young teams in the NFL. What happened? Cam Newton happened! The “sure fire bust” shut everyone up, including myself, in posting one of the most impressive rookie campaigns of all time.
Going forward, the team is in prime position to insert itself into the playoff picture as soon as this upcoming season. They’ll need to get clever with their cap situation, and I imagine there will be a few unproductive defensive players cut loose to free up cash, but the infusion of another strong draft class and the further development of their young stars could net them several additional wins.