After surveying all the Panther picks one last time, here's what I'm thinking:
1. For quite awhile, when the other team was forced to punt to the Panthers it has been a great time to go get a snack. Armanti Edwards stopped fumbling the ball on returns in 2011, but he just can't break one. He's been given plenty of chances back there and it's time for someone else to do it. Fourth-round pick Joe Adams (who ran four punts back for TDs at Arkansas last season) should take that job in 2012. And if the Panthers' wide receivers all stay healthy, I don't think Edwards makes the team this season.
2. I still don't think the Panthers did enough in the draft on defense, where the team lost the majority of its games in 2011. That said, unlike my colleague Tom Sorensen (whose post-draft column you can read here), I really like the pick of Boston College linebacker Luke Kuechly. You simply can't have too many great tacklers on the field, and Kuechly has a built-in GPS for the ball.
3. But after the excellent Kuechly pick, the Panthers only used three of their final six picks on defense (DE Frank Alexander in the fourth, DB Josh Norman in the fifth and DB D.J. Campbell in the seventh). I would have rather them use at least one more on that side of the ball, where they allowed franchise highs in points and total yards in 2011.
4. I'm still not sure about Amini Silatolu as a second-round pick. I know that's about where a lot of draft analysts rated him, yes. But an offensive guard in the second round? It just seems to me there were greater needs out there. He's going to have to prove himself.
5. The Panthers have had a tradition of never taking punters or kickers in the draft, but they broke it Saturday with Wisconsin's Brad Nortman in the sixth round. I'm OK with that one -- a good punter is like a 12th defensive player. And the Panthers had to have one since they released Jason Baker for salary-cap reasons. Nortman is supposed to be very consistent and as long as the Panthers don't let him kick to Devin Hester (you know what I'm talking about), they should be fine there.
9 months ago