If you would’ve asked me this earlier in the month, I would’ve had a different answer. Which is just another example of why week-to-week judgments, especially in June, are so frivolous.
Anyway, midway through OTAs, I would’ve said Gaulden’s got a looong way to go. That’s still true, but the light bulb did noticeably flicker during the back half of OTAs and minicamp. He began to play faster which helped him make a handful of plays on the ball.
Gaulden is still a long shot to overtake a starting spot by Week 1, but this year’s third-round pick ended the spring on a high note.
Website submission from Kyle in Lake Stevens, Wash.: Do you think Donte Jackson could be a starter by week one? Also, do you think the Panthers might add another cornerback or safety in the supplemental draft?
Just like with Gaulden, coaches left for their summer break with a good taste in their mouths about Jackson. He can absolutely earn the job across from James Bradberry by the Cowboys game.
Sure, Kevon Seymour got the bulk of starter reps this spring, but that’s not surprising considering he had some experience in this system. Some could see it as his job to lose. I see it as Jackson’s job to win.
With that said, we have to remember what the Panthers plan to do with their corners this year. They purposefully brought in complementary parts to mix and match based on matchups. So I don’t think we’re going to see a traditional setup where two corners get 100 percent of the snaps. James Bradberry will, but the other outside slot should be a rotation featuring Jackson, Seymour and Ross Cockrell. Again, it will all depend on matchups.
As far as the supplemental draft goes, I wouldn’t expect the Panthers to pick up any of the three available players. They’re all in the supplemental draft for a reason.
They’re not trading him.
As much as many of you want to just plug in Taylor Moton – at either of the tackle spots or left guard – we still don’t know if he can play. Williams is the guy you want at right tackle in 2018. After that, we’ll see.
It’s understandable why Williams would want to strike while the iron’s hot, but it’s also understandable if the Panthers are hesitant to give him big money after one good season. You can’t pay everybody, and Moton is at least a nice insurance plan. Even if he’s a left guard this year, perhaps he’ll show enough to make them comfortable about his future at right tackle, which is what they drafted him to be.
By the way, this isn’t the time to be all that concerned about contracts. At most, sides have exchanged preliminary numbers with plans to connect again shortly before camp. With that said, I’d be surprised if either Williams or Devin Funchess got an extension ironed out before they get to Spartanburg. The more interesting negotiating window will run through camp and the preseason.
Website submission from Timothy in Fairhope, AL: I have checked on past articles on Reggie Bonnafon and seen him listed by various sources as anywhere from 6' to 6' 3". Where do you estimate he is, and how do you feel about his chances to stick with the Panthers? From all accounts, he is an extremely gifted athlete with exceptional speed.
I have a hard time seeing him on the final roster. Maybe he’ll have a huge camp and preseason, but they have multiple gifted athletes with exceptional speed who can play in various spots. And those guys are all ahead of Bonnafon.
The Panthers currently have 12 wideouts, so with all due respect to the other half, the roster race should come down to these six: Funchess, DJ Moore, Torrey Smith, Jarius Wright, Curtis Samuel and Damiere Byrd. Of those, Byrd would seem to be in the most precarious position. But they still really like him a lot.
Will they be willing to keep six? They still have 10 weeks to make that call.
Just please don’t allow yourself to get sucked into list season and who isn’t showing the Panthers love in whatever rankings.
Those. Don't. Matter.
Website submission from Rodney in Raeford, NC: Are we going to finally remove the NFL logo in the middle of the field?
I keep getting this question and the answer is still the same because David Tepper isn’t yet in the building full-time.
It’s certainly possible, but it’s impossible to know for sure just yet.
Website submission from Randall in Goose Creek, SC: Per your request for more options in naming your podcast – I humbly submit “Cat Chat.”
I like “Bill and the Two Other Guys,” but I’m having a hard time getting the others to agree.
Website submission from Steven in Mount Pleasant, SC: Hey Bill, love your podcast and Grill Bill. Thanks for giving us fans something to look forward to during the offseason! My question is around the defensive line group: What are the chances we re-sign Charles Johnson to a team-friendly deal if injuries start to mount throughout the season? Would he come back to the same team that has cut him twice?
Last I heard, Johnson is planning to retire. He just hasn’t made it official.
But in your scenario, I don’t think he’d hesitate to come back. The more significant hangup would be with the team. Johnson had a tremendous career, it just didn’t end as productively as either side would have hoped. Which happens.
Website submission from John in Kannapolis: Since the Panthers have updated Panthers.com, there are no RSS Feeds. Are they going to add them back, or are they gone for good?
Ask and you shall receive.
Website submission from Simon in Kannapolis: Dear Bill, two things: Firstly, which Panther player do you think has turned the most heads this offseason, and secondly, which Panther player would you be most comfortable dating your daughter?
This may not fully answer your question, but Marquis Haynes surprised some folks.
Obviously, the small-ish fourth-round end isn't a traditional fit in this defensive scheme, so there’s going to be some patience required. But while it’s silly to put much into what linemen do in the spring, Haynes really impressed coaches. If he keeps it up through camp and the preseason, they'll find a way to get him on the field sooner than later.
And I don’t have a daughter, but I’m pretty sure almost everyone in the fanbase would agree with: