16. CAROLINA (7-9)
LAST SEASON: Panthers struggled last season on both sides of ball as defense got old and Cam Newton's shoulder issues limited their downfield passing game. Number of veteran defensive players, including end Julius Peppers, linebacker Thomas Davis and safety Mike Adams, are gone, leaving some major holes to fill. Newton had surgery on shoulder and team believes he will recover in time to play in 2019.
FREE AGENCY: Signed center Matt Paradis to replace retiring Ryan Kalil and re-signed offensive tackle Daryl Williams, freeing them to release Ryan's younger brother Matt Kalil, who never lived up to five-year, $55 million contract he got in 2017. Carolina signed free agent DE Bruce Irvin as potential short-term replacement for Peppers but still needs pass rushers. Panthers re-signed safety Eric Reid, but they still need to replace Adams.
THEY NEED: DE, OT, S, OLB, TE.
THEY DON'T NEED: C, RB, MLB, K, P.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: Clemson DE Clelin Ferrell; Alabama OT Jonah Williams; Clemson DE Dexter Lawrence.
OUTLOOK: With so many needs Panthers can go any number of directions with 16th pick. Defensive end is most pressing issue as Panthers needed pass rusher even when Peppers was on roster. Irvin is viewed as stop-gap player, so expect Carolina to address issue early. And don't rule out drafting quarterback to be Newton's backup and potential long-term successor given lingering problems with his shoulder.
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