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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Panthers Still Need Nickel

This is essentially a history lesson and a projection, but new CB
Antoine Cason fills a need - just not various needs.

I did extensive scouting on the 2010 Chargers defense, enough to get an
idea for what Ron Rivera would field, and it paid dividends enough with
that also being the team's offense.

Cason was a starter on that 2010 team. And, really, a pretty good one.
But his story starts earlier than that.

A 2008 27th overall pick, Cason had high hopes as a starter, and worked
his way in there as a starter three times while the team still had
Quentin Jammer and Antonion Cromartie. Cason had a good 2008 - allowing
8.2 yards per catch, mostly as a reserve. But he was allowing a 74%
completion percentage. 2009, set as the nickelback, he struggled and
last time to Steve Gregory, still giving up high completions but having
more mental mistakes. There were people surprised that, especially
after trading away Cromartie, the Chargers didn't acquire anyone.

Cason rewarded the Chargers, giving them three really good years of
starting ability before he left last year. But his time was essentially
played outside, and the team had other nickelbacks.

That's fine. Carolina needs all the help it can get, but I wouldn't
count out the team providing someone who can play the slot. Cason,
Melvin White, and Josh Norman are outside guys. James Dockery, hard to
say. Drayton Florence, who I'd argued could and should return, has, but
it's not his strength. I'd call it a legitimate need for the team.
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