It’s time for our Weekly Mailbag! Every week, we answer a question or questions from fans relating to the Carolina Panthers. If you’d like your question answered, tweet it to us @Cover32_CAR or ask in the comments section. Now to this week’s question.
I read the piece about how Kawann Short is poised for a breakout season in 2014. That has me really excited about the defense, but I still can’t help but feel like taking another defensive tackle in the second round of the 2013 draft after taking Star Lotulelei in the first round was a bit of a luxury pick, especially considering we could’ve taken Keenan Allen, who’s from my hometown of Greensboro, to bolster our receiving corps. Do you think Short was the correct decision?
Bill in Greensboro
You make an excellent point Bill and it was especially apparent in the second half of the playoff loss to the San Francisco 49ers that the receiving corps just wasn’t up to snuff. Once Steve Smith’s effectiveness had been limited (remember he was 2 weeks removed from the knee injury against the New Orleans Saints), there was nobody for Cam Newton to throw to. That’s how you end up with a 13 play drive that amasses just 31 yards. That being said, nobody anticipated Keenan Allen having the massive impact that he did last year. If they did, he wouldn’t have lasted to the 76th pick in the draft.
The strength of the Panthers last year was their defense, and within that, it was their front seven. As great as Star Lotulelei and Dwan Edwards were, I highly doubt they would’ve been as effective without Short being able to sub in as consistently. As Matt noted in his piece about Short being ready to break out, he played almost as many snaps as you would expect a starter to so even if he didn’t technically start, he played a big role in the defense being the second best in the league and getting Carolina to the playoffs.
It would’ve been nice to have Allen on the receiving corps, but Gettleman made the right pick.