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Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Panthers start building DT depth

By Pat Yasinskas
ESPN.com

Don’t go scheduling a Super Bowl parade in Charlotte just yet, but let’s give the Panthers credit for being proactive at defensive tackle -- this time around.

They signed street free agent Ed Johnson on Wednesday, according to our John Clayton. Johnson is just a guy and there’s no guarantee he’ll even make the team. He started 16 games for the Colts as an undrafted rookie in 2007. After that, he became a part-time player and bounced off and on the Indianapolis roster the last two seasons. He also spent his first two seasons with Carolina defensive coordinator Ron Meeks.

Not exactly a fancy résumé, but it gives the Panthers some potential depth at defensive tackle. That’s a good thing because a lack of depth at that position was a major reason why the Panthers went 8-8 last season.

On the first day of training camp, it became painfully obvious they had no depth there once Maake Kemoeatu went down with a season-ending injury. They tried plugging in a whole bunch of different guys next to Damione Lewis before arranging a work-release deal with a nursing home to get the ancient Hollis Thomas, who actually came in and played pretty well.

Kemoeatu appears to be progressing with his recovery and that’s good news. Kemoeatu is a very average player, but the Panthers need his size in the middle. And they need depth behind him. At least this year, they’re starting to build it.