The Carolina Panthers have two needs and they both just happen to be on the offensive side of the ball. While most 2017 NFL Mock Drafts have the Panthers selecting a running back I believe they should look for a receiver. Jonathan Stewart is determined to show that last year was just a slight bump in the road. For the Panthers to get back to their winning ways they must do so by providing Cam Newton with weapons. Paging Mike Williams.
Williams has the tools to be the game changer the Panthers are looking for. Taking a wide receiver early is a risk, however, so is taking a QB or any other player. Ask the Atlanta Falcons if the risk of drafting Julio Jones with the 6th pick in 2011 was worth it. Or the Cincinnati Bengals and the New York Giants when both teams selected A.J. Green and Odell Beckham Jr in the first 12 picks. Certain talents cannot be ignored. You think every team in the league is not kicking themselves for letting Randy Moss or Antonio Brown slip through their fingers early on?
How did Newton win the MVP and lead his team to the Super Bowl with a 15-1 record in 2015?
His stats were the best of his career and that was due to him spreading the ball around. Granted, he didn’t have the services of his top playmaker in Kelvin Benjamin but Ted Ginn and Greg Olsen more than made up for his absence. Last season the passing game suffered and with the loss of Ginn in the offseason the Panthers are basically Benjamin and Olsen now. There needs to be some help.
Williams is listed as 6-4, 218lbs. He’s big and fast. The knock on Williams is his inability to be a tad more physical but Jones and Brown had the same knock on them. Most receivers are not going to run you over. Their job is to run by you.
Pairing Williams on the opposite side of Benjamin would give Newton two big weapons that most defensive backs would have a hard time covering in either a ‘Slot’ or ‘Go Route’. Another area where having viable pass catchers come into play is the running game. Most defenses didn’t respect the skills of Ginn or Philly Brown which allowed a defense to stack the line while doubling Olsen or Benjamin. I doubt If Stewart will run for 1500 yards but it can’t hurt to give him a chance to do so.
Drafting a running back will still happen for the Panthers but in the 2nd or 3rd round where most gems are found. Right now, the team needs someone to help take the pressure off Newton and Williams is just the guy to do that. Is he a risk? Yes, but remember so was Jerry Rice and every other great receiver before him.