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Carolina free agent rankings: No. 6

1/31/2014

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- No. 6 in my ranking and evaluation of the 21 Carolina Panthers scheduled to become unrestricted free agents is a tight end who didn't catch a pass last season and has caught only seven since 2008.

Ben Hartsock.

Hey, in 10 NFL seasons he's been to the playoffs seven times with five teams. You need players like him around.

To rehash the rankings so far:

No. 21 quarterback Jimmy Clausen, No. 20 wide receiver Brandon LaFell, No. 19 cornerback Drayton Florence, No. 18 guard Geoff Hangartner, No. 17 linebacker Dan Connor, No. 16 linebacker Jason Williams, No. 15 tackle Bruce Campbell, No. 14 cornerback James Dockery, No. 13 defensive tackle Colin Cole, No. 12 guard Travelle Wharton, No. 11 linebacker Jordan Senn, No. 10 quarterback Derek Anderson, No. 9 cornerback Captain Munnerlyn, No. 8 wide receiver Domenik Hixon and No. 7 wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr.

On to No 7:

Hartsock: I mentioned above he didn't catch a pass last season. Well, that's not a problem. The Panthers need Hartsock for what he does best, block. It may be time to develop a younger player here. Hartsock will be 34 when the 2014 season starts. But the coaching staff likes what he brings to the running game and they are intent on building around the running game. Plus, Hartsock likes Charlotte and wants to stay here. So as with many of those I mentioned in the top 10, he could come at a bargain price for a team looking for bargains. The Panthers don't need Hartsock to catch passes. Greg Olsen is plenty good at that.