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Strategy And Personnel

The Sports Xchange
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Losing the coin toss with Miami for the eighth overall pick won't change the draft plans drastically, but it could complicate the Panthers' efforts to make moves on draft weekend.

Having the quarterback-needy Dolphins behind them in the order might have helped the Panthers trade back, an idea the front office is always interested in listening to.

The Panthers are without a third-round pick after last summer's trade for tight end Greg Olsen, and there's a sense that they'd be willing to move back to the middle of the first round if they could add later picks.

Being in front of the Dolphins might have made that easier, as anyone wanting to move up for a quarterback such as Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill would have been likely to call, since the Dolphins have a natural link there with Tannehill's old college coach Mike Sherman on staff now.

General manager Marty Hurney loves to make moves on draft weekend, and has generally fared better moving back than up. The best deal was the 2007 move back with the New York Jets, who needed to get from 25 to 14 to take cornerback Darrelle Revis. The Panthers got an extra second in that deal, and used the two picks to draft cornerstones on either side of the ball, middle linebacker Jon Beason and center Ryan Kalil.

TEAM NEEDS

Cornerback: The Panthers got a bounce-back year from Chris Gamble, but they were patching all year long on the other side. From Captain Munnerlyn to Darius Butler to the revolving door of third and fourth guys, they never found a suitable answer, as opponents essentially ignored Gamble in favor of easier matchups.

Defensive line: End Charles Johnson is the only proven starter along the line not coming off an injury. Any kind of pass rush, from inside or out, would help the personnel-depleted secondary immeasurably.

Offensive tackle: Left tackle Jordan Gross is solid, but entering his 10th season. Right tackle Jeff Otah has flashed moments of dominance, but hasn't proven able to hold up an entire season. Having a backup plan for the latter and a successor for the former wouldn't be the worst investment, considering the impact quarterback Cam Newton made last season.

MEDICAL WATCH
No updates.

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