Following a dominant 2015 regular season that ultimately ended in a Super Bowl appearance, the Carolina Panthers were feeling pretty good about themselves this time last year. Unfortunately for Ron Rivera, Cam Newton and company, over the course of the next four months the Panthers accumulated only six wins, finishing dead last in the NFC South, and while their arch rivals in Atlanta were cruising through the NFC playoffs, Carolina was left wondering where it all went wrong. On paper Carolina’s talent is undeniable and more than one Panther has boasted confidence they can turn in a strong bounce back season. However, wins in this league aren’t easy to come by, and talk can only get you so far.
2016 Record: 6-10
Notable Additions: LB Julius Peppers
Notable Subtractions: Defensive Coordinator Sean McDermott, S Tre Boston, WR Philly Brown, WR Ted Ginn
Notable Rookies: RB Christian McCaffrey, OL Taylor Morton, WR Curtis Samuel
Analysis: If the Panthers are going to turn in the type of rebound campaign they believe they are capable of, they’ll need a serious bounce back from star quarterback Cam Newton, who struggled a year ago after winning the MVP award the prior season. In an effort to give the face of their franchise every opportunity to succeed, Carolina drafted dynamic playmaker Christian McAffrey in the first round, a speed burner from Stanford who can line up everywhere on offense, and should be a match-up nightmare for opposing teams. For the most part the Panthers’ defense remained intact over the offseason, but they did add a familiar face: pass rusher Julius Peppers, who enjoyed the best years of his career during his first stint in Charlotte.