It's a good thing the team hit on Jon Beason in last year's draft and got Landon Johnson so cheaply for a starter. The draft looks void of talent outside of Keith Rivers, who may be too high himself. Former first round lock Dan Connor is falling, possibly without merit, and it's entirely possible only 3 LB could be picked in the first day. If the Panthers were looking at making a LB pick this year, in addition to its other problems, the chances are much greater for failure and bad value.
On the flip side, it would've been a solid year for a WR pick. Dwayne Jarrett gained no experience, and receivers are plentiful this year. While the team did a great job getting the passing game in order with Muhsin Muhammad and DJ Hackett on the cheap, the team could've succeeded with a player like Lavelle Hawkins in the 3rd and gotten a player just as ready for action.
As well, it seems the DE class as a whole isn't as good as this year's - and we may be in the market again, though possibly not of fault to Charles Johnson. There are also more rush-specific ends in this year's class, like Chris Ellis, Cliff Avril, or Jason Jones. One upside is that the hope of getting Gaines Adams or Jamaal Anderson in the draft, both of which went to NFCSouth foes, netted their teams little so far.
One final note on the WR situation - the media's really talking down Muhammad in favor of Hackett. Pro Football Weekly had this note from a scout:
“The West Coast offense is built around the ‘Z’ receiver. Just look at what happened in Green Bay. Greg Jennings had a great year playing the ‘Z’ spot as a rookie. He came out playing the ‘X’ in his second year, and James Jones moved into the ‘Z.’ Everyone started talking about how Jennings was a one-year guy and how good Jones was. No, all the production goes to the guy running underneath coverages. The ‘Z’ position was born to be productive in that offense. Look at D.J. Hackett. He will go to Carolina and you will not hear much from him because he left the cherry — that ‘Z’ position. Look at David Givens leaving New England. If an offense uses the ‘Z,’ whether it be in three-receiver sets or even with two tight ends — the guy coming under drop coverages is going to be productive.”