I get these two questions more than any others these days, so here is my take on two pressing Panther issues.
1) What should the Panthers do with their No.28 overall draft choice?
A. It has to be an offensive tackle or a wide receiver. The No.2 defense in the NFL is far closer to set than the inconsistent Panther offense, which only scored 10 points in the Panthers' playoff game and has taken two big blows in the past two months -- one self-inflicted (the mistaken release of Steve Smith) and one retirement (Jordan Gross).
The Panthers will have to stay flexible, given they are picking so low in the first round. Although choosing a wide receiver is the sexier selection, if all things were equal (and they rarely are) I would go for an offensive tackle in the first round and a receiver in the second.
Although the Panthers seem determined to give Byron Bell the first shot at left tackle, I am not sure he is the answer there. And even if he is, who is going to play right tackle? The Panthers absolutely must find at least one offensive line starter in this draft.
2) What do you think of Dave Gettleman?
A. He can be cold-blooded in his decisions (see Smith, Steve). He also can be exactly what the Panthers need in terms of a man who doesn't let his hands get tied due to loyalty or "I drafted this guy so I'm never going to cut him" pride.
Gettleman had a great rookie year as Panther GM in 2013. I disagreed with the Smith decision, but I have found it hard to disagree with most anything else he has done. He's not going to let Cam Newton get away, that's for sure, and his general football principles are very sound. Criticize him for the decision on No.89 all you want -- and note that Ron Rivera said Wednesday that Gettleman had "taken the hit" for the Panthers in public, implying a lot of other people agreed with this decision inside that building. But also don't forget how much good Gettleman has done in less than 15 months.
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