"Substance is more important than splash," general manager Dave Gettleman recently said.
First off, the signings of Ginn and Oher are more significant than some seem to realize, especially when you consider their signings within the context of Carolina's situation.
Ginn isn't universally viewed as a big acquisition after totaling 16 catches in his last two seasons spent not wearing a Panthers uniform, but Carolina knows how to get the best out of him as evidenced by his 36 catches for 556 yards and five touchdowns as the team's No. 3 receiver in 2013. Even more importantly, he's one of the most decorated return men in NFL history, and that's a big upgrade regardless of his receiving role.
Oher was a starter on the Baltimore Ravens team that won the Super Bowl XLVII to cap the 2012 season, and the best days during his six-year career have been under the influence of John Matsko, now Carolina's offensive line coach. The Panthers know they must improve at left tackle, and Oher – despite some struggles along the way – may be the best left tackle among free agents signed by new clubs this offseason. Former No. 1 overall pick Jake Long remains unsigned but suffered a major knee injury each of the past two seasons. Oher did miss the last five games in 2014 to repair a toe injury that had bothered him for a while, but he feels like a new man and had started all 91 games of his career prior.
Smart signings like these and recently acquired safety
With the acquisition of Michael Oher, do you believe the Panthers would use him to protect Cam's blind side or use him as more of a run blocking tackle on the other side? – Austin in Troy, N.C.
Not sure if you intentionally referenced "blind side" as an allusion to the Emmy-winning depiction of Oher's rags-to-riches journey, but the blind side is indeed where Gettleman sees Oher fitting.
"We did our homework on Michael, and we feel very strongly that he can be an answer for us," Gettleman said. "He'll be inserted at left tackle, and we'll go from there."
Gettleman was pleased with how the rest of the starting offensive line closed out last season – four-time Pro Bowl selection
The draft could create competition at the least and possibly a battle for first-team reps. Oher would be the starting left tackle if the season started today, but it doesn't.
"We don't play until September," Gettleman said.
The release of DeAngelo Williams naturally has to increase the likelihood Carolina will draft a running back at some point in the draft, but it's not likely to happen in the first round.
Even when Williams, Stewart and
The reality is that no running backs have been selected in the first round for two years running. Gurley and Melvin Gordon could be first-round picks this year, but they might not be. So regardless of perceived position need, the recent draft-day trend toward running backs means it's more likely the Panthers would look for value there in later rounds rather than earlier ones.