The Carolina Panthers today announced that they have signed third round draft pick Charles Godfrey from Iowa and seventh round pick Geoff Schwartz of Oregon to contracts. With 4 days left before reporting to training camp at Wofford College, only the two first round picks, Jonathan Stewart and Jeff Otah, are left unsigned as the Panthers have worked hard to get the rest of the draft signed before reporting day July 25th.
Maybe its just me but I am getting excited to see what this team can do for the first time in a long time. I liked who they drafted and the majority of their off season signings and releases, especially at the wide receiver position(welcome back Moose). My biggest question marks are on both lines but I think they can both be improved with the additions they made and with the hopes that Pepper's 2007 season was just one bad season in a great career. With Rucker retired now and Jenkins traded, the days of the fearsome foursome(with Peppers and Buckner) are history and that defensive line will need Peppers desperately to step up and be a dominant force and others will need to step up their game. I personally think Peppers has shown great potential but I refuse to give up on him just yet as others may have done. I will say that its a lot easier to be dominant when you have the other three guys he had along side him previously but two of them just left this past off season so we shall see. Even though I bleed Orange, this is one time I will root for a Tar Heel, Go Pep. Offensively, just as Julius Peppers enters a contract year, so does offensive lineman Jordan Gross since he only signed a one year tender under the franchise tag. Personally, I think Jordan will also step up his game and quote that famous line from Jerry Maguire, "Show me the money" and get his long term deal. This newly retooled O line will have to mix together well and give Jake the protection he needs to stay healthy if this team wants a chance in the post season. Right now, I think this team is on paper, at least a wild card team but I hope everyone in that locker room plays with a chip on their shoulder because many are speculating that anything less, and that chip you see leaving from the table will be Coach John Fox and possible GM Marty Hurney, whom I think after such a great draft should get to stay but will this team play at that high of a level for them is the question. Oh and you just had to know I was going to end this on an Orange note since we have one in camp right now. I am rooting for the former captain of the 2007 Orange football team Joe Fields to make the final roster and I might just add a #38 Panther jersey to my collection. I think Fields is a great player and will add some depth at the safety position and I will be rooting for him to prove he belongs in the NFL when preseason games start for this team August 9th against the Colts. Go Panthers, Go Joe, and Go Orange.