Carolina Panthers' Potential Offseason Free Agent, NFL Draft Targets

02/10/2013 7:34 PM

02/12/2013 11:10 AM

Five Possible Free Agent Targets For Panthers

DT Chris Canty

Went to high school in Charlotte and signed with Giants when Panthers GM Dave Gettleman was New York’s pro personnel director. Canty, who was cut last week, played in just nine games following offseason knee surgery, but averaged 60 tackles in four seasons in New York.

CB Brent Grimes

The Falcons’ sixth-year corner might be too costly for the Panthers, unless injury concerns drive down his price. Grimes missed all but one game last season with an Achilles injury.

S Kenny Phillips

It’s unclear whether the Giants will re-sign the 26-year-old Phillips, who missed nine games last season with what have been described as chronic knee problems. Gettleman is familiar with Phillips, the Giants’ first-round pick in 2008.

TE Jared Cook

Greg Olsen had the best season by a tight end in Panthers history. But Gary Barnidge and Ben Hartsock, the team’s other tight ends, are free agents. Cook is a big, athletic pass-catcher who played at South Carolina and is unhappy with his role with the Titans.

QB Matt Moore

With backup QB Derek Anderson a free agent and hinting that he might join Rob Chudzinski in Cleveland, Moore would be a good No. 2 behind Cam Newton. Moore is well liked in Charlotte from his three-year stint with the Panthers.

Five Possible Draft Targets For Panthers

The Panthers just started their draft meetings and the scouting combine is more than a week away. But given that Carolina has immediate needs in the secondary, along both lines and to a lesser extent, at receiver, here’s a very preliminary list of possible targets for the Panthers with the 14th pick.

Kenny Vaccaro, safety, Texas

The Panthers were set to take Alabama safety Mark Barron last year before Tampa Bay grabbed him at No. 7. After Haruki Nakamura’s inconsistent play in 2012, the Panthers still have a need. Vaccaro is big (6-1, 215), physical and makes plays (92 tackles, 2 Ints as a senior).

Sharrif Floyd, defensive tackle, Florida

Every year the draft experts predict the Panthers will take a defensive tackle in the first round. With Dwan Edwards eligible for free agency and Ron Edwards a possible cap casualty, this could be the year. Floyd came on strong at the end of last season. He’s nimble for a 6-3, 303-pounder, and could collapse the pocket and force QBs into the rush of DEs Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson.

Johnthan Banks, cornerback, Mississippi State

The Panthers drafted corner Josh Norman in the fifth round last year, but could have a huge void there in the likely event they cut Chris Gamble and don’t re-sign Captain Munnerlyn. There is a big drop-off among corners after Alabama’s Dee Milliner, but Banks appears to be the second best in a weak class.

Lane Johnson, offensive tackle, Oklahoma

With Jordan Gross nearing retirement, this could be a good time to draft his successor. Johnson has the same type of athleticism as Gross. He was a high school quarterback who started his Sooners’ career as a tight end. The 6-7, 303-pounder had a strong showing at the Senior Bowl.

Cordarrelle Patterson, wide receiver, Tennessee

After watching what Jacoby Jones did in the Super Bowl, it’s never a bad idea to have fast, elusive receivers who also return kicks and punts. Patterson, who is from Rock Hill, scored TDs by four different means last season and set an SEC single-season record with a combined kickoff and punt return average of 27.6 yards.

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