New DT Leonard should fill void for Panthers

September, 1, 2009
9/01/09
12:05
PM ET

Posted by ESPN.com’s Pat Yasinskas


Carolina fans, don’t go buying tickets to the Super Bowl in Miami just yet. But the Panthers did at least make a move toward patching up their most glaring hole Tuesday morning.

They traded an undisclosed (in other words, very late-round) draft pick to the Cleveland Browns for defensive tackle Louis Leonard. In two seasons with Cleveland, Leonard made four starts and 33 tackles. But the most impressive number with Leonard is 325. That’s how many pounds he carries and that’s all that really matters here.

The Panthers have been looking for some beef up front ever since Maake Kemoeatu went out with an injury on the first day of camp. It’s pretty amazing how the loss of Kemoeatu, who is, at best, an ordinary player, created such a problem. But the Panthers had virtually nothing behind him. They’ve been plugging Nick Hayden and Marlon Favorite into the spot next to Damione Lewis, but neither of those guys fit the Kemoeatu mold.

What the Panthers needed was a wide-body defensive tackle. Leonard at least fits that profile. But don’t look at Leonard as a guy who’s going to come in and totally solve the problem. I don’t think the Panthers view him as that type of player and they still could be on the lookout for one more defensive tackle.

Pat Yasinskas | email

ESPN Tampa Bay Buccaneers reporter

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