Panthers mailbag: Are the Panthers Super Bowl ready?


CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Not all questions regarding the Carolina Panthers have to do with the upcoming NFL draft.

With that, let’s get to the Sunday mailbag.

@DNewtonESPN: I'll go with opening. There is still uncertainty on the offensive line, particularly at left tackle where Michael Oher must prove he can be the player he was in 2012 with Baltimore to give quarterback Cam Newton the protection he needs. Newton still hasn't proven he can play mistake-free enough in a big playoff game to get to the big game. There is still not a legitimate No. 2 receiver to open up the offense. Remember, this team made the playoffs at 7-8-1 last season only because the rest of the NFC South was a disaster. But the defense is good enough to win a championship, having ranked in the top 10 the past three seasons. If the pieces come together on offense anything is possible. Seattle seemingly has taken a small step backwards and there really isn't another NFC team that you can pencil in as dominant.

@DNewtonESPN: That's a tough one. I don't see anybody that I would consider really notable not making the roster. If wide receiver Stephen Hill isn't ready to contribute he might be the biggest name, but only because he was as second-round pick by the Jets in 2012. Had he been a second-round pick by the Jaguars few would pay attention. Hill really hasn't done anything the past few years to be notable, spending all of last season on Carolina's practice squad. Possibly tackle Jonathan Martin, acquired off waivers after being released by San Francisco. He's notable mostly because he was at the center of the harassment scandal in Miami two years ago. If the Panthers draft a tackle, Colin Cole could be in jeopardy. But Cole is a steady role player and a valuable locker room presence. Who do you think it might be? Tell me on Twitter.

@DNewtonESPN: Possibly as early as the second round if Indiana's Tevin Coleman is available. He rushed for 2,036 yards this past season and wouldn't, in my opinion, be a big drop-off from Georgia's Todd Gurley or Wisconsin's Melvin Gordon.

@DNewtonESPN: Both wide receiver and tackle are deep this year, so if the Panthers don't fill a need at one of those spots in the first round they definitely have the potential to in the later rounds. Just not too late if you want somebody that might contribute right away. I still like a speed wide receiver in the first round, because I believe you can find a comparable tackle in the second round.

@DNewtonESPN: I can safely say none, or it will be none when the process is done. The Panthers are doing their due diligence on every player they are interested in just as every NFL team is. You don't take a player in the first round, or any of the top rounds, without knowing everything you can about that player. That requires spending time around them. No team wants to be surprised, although it happens.