Grill Bill: Who will start next to Eric Reid? 

Eric-Reid-pre-snap

@jzamora6230 Who’s going to play the FS spot ?

Clearly, the focus this offseason was improving both lines — and the Panthers have started to do that. But this is a good question cause there does seem to be a hole next to Eric Reid. To flesh this out, let’s start with him.

Reid has the skills, smarts and experience to direct the back end. He can also play both strong and free safety, flexibility the Panthers will want in whoever plays next to Reid. But he’s best as a physical presence in the box, which means the other starter needs to be able to patrol the middle of the field with range and ball skills.

There are some options currently on the roster, namely Rashaan Gaulden, Da'Norris Searcy and Damian Parms. But I wouldn’t assume this is an “answer’s on the roster” situation just yet.

I get that everyone wants every hole to be filled almost immediately after free agency opens, but that’s not how it works. Roster building takes months — and really, it never fully finishes. So it’s a safe bet the Panthers are still looking to enhance the competition at safety, be it through free agency, the draft, the waiver wire and/or potential trades.

It’s March. If I have as hard a time answering this question in August, then you should be concerned.

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@crackcorn34 Hey Bill, Is there "any chance" you include this question? Probably not.

There is such a thing as a worthwhile “any chance” question. Like …

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@GastricBeerpass When we drafted Gaulden there was a debate over his best position in the NFL, FS or NB. I know the the Panthers viewed him as a FS last year but with the hole at NB any chance he gets a shot there?

I don’t think much has changed with how they see Gaulden from when they drafted him. Back then, they mentioned he could get a look at both spots. He spent most of his rookie year getting reps at safety, but I could see him getting tossed into the mix at nickel now. It makes sense to let him compete at each and see if last year's third-round pick can earn himself a bigger role.

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@jollroger1969 Is the current compensatory stat 5-2 in our favor? Signed Irvin & Paradis. Our FAs that have been signed: Funchess, Davis, Barner, Catanzaro, and Mayo?

Yeah, but let’s douse this potential out now.

Kenjon Barner, Chandler Cantanzaro, David Mayo and any other of Carolina’s current free agents won’t add much to the formula. Thomas Davis and Devin Funchess would, but they’ll essentially be canceled out by Matt Paradis and Bruce Irvin. So at best, the Panthers may get an extra seventh-round pick next year as things now stand.

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@karlvann We need another target for Cam.. what round do you think we might look for one? Thank you Bill

Remember when the Colts kept adding targets for Andrew Luck? That was fun in the spring. Wasn’t as much fun in the fall when his line failed.

So I couldn’t agree more with the Panthers’ early offseason strategy of focusing on the line. And they shouldn’t be finished there.

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Website submission from Caden in South Hill, VA: With the signing of Bruce Irvin, does this change who the Panthers will draft?

Not at all.

Irvin is an important addition, but once again, both lines needed to be revamped this offseason. You don’t do that with just one or two signings. Draft, waiver wire, free agents, potential trades — all options should still be on the table.

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@KemmerlinJustin What is the status of Vernon Butler? Hasn't lived up to first round selection. With us going to more of a multiple front look, is he expendable?

The big question with Butler is whether the Panthers will pick up his fifth-year option. That deadline is May 3. I’d be surprised if that happens considering how little production the Panthers have gotten out of the 2016 first-round pick. But as long as Butler is still here, he’ll have chances to finally break out at tackle or as an end in a 3-4 look.

And now, the lightning round …

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Website submission from Stan in Winston-Salem, NC: I love Cam and that being said could you let him know to drop the crazy fonts in his messages? I know he likes to be a trend setter but the the words do that and not the font. It makes his intent miss the mark.

On it. Obviously, he'll listen to me because he clearly cares about what you and I think about it.

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@GambleLikeMe Does the signing of Bruce indicate we are headed and focused on changing defensive schemes to a 3-4 style?

What? Haven’t heard a thing about that …

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Website submission from Johnny in Gastonia, NC: Is Panthers going draft Ryan fenley they don't need let him get by this guy can play I know qb isaid they should have got russle Wilson they didn't look what he did cam to many high throws holds ball till he gets saked and qb not post run look peton and Tom they throw darts this guy will be anther Matt ryan

That's interesting.

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@SwindleKong Can the @Panthers draft Zion Williamson to play DE?

Funny. But how cool is this graphic?

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@peetree910 Big Orange winning the tourney this year? Also where is Jimmy Hoffa and can he play LT?

Nah. That 2-3 zone is a tough puzzle to solve for teams that don’t see it often, but Syracuse is probably only good enough to win its first game this year. (I actually wrote this late Thursday afternoon, a few hours before we crashed out against Baylor).

And if I told you the answer to your second question, I’d have to …

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@95KeepPounding Speaking of bubbles, was it The Moors or The Moops? #GrillBill

I'm sorry, the card said Moops.

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Website submission from Lincoln in Shelby, NC: Who is going to be the #1 receiver without Devin Funchess?

How many other labels in football get misused as much as No. 1 receiver?

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@DjjSwinkk Since we’re transitioning to a 3-4 will Irvin be the edge OLB or will he be on the line in a stance?

Yes.

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@MajorSodium GoT returns in a little less than a month. Who are you pulling for to come out alive and sit on the Iron Throne? #GrillBill #ForTheThrone

Denerys

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