Moving the football and scoring points weren't problems for the Panthers in year one of the Cam Newton era, but preventing the opposition from doing so was a major challenge last season. As a result, expect Carolina's 2012 draft class to be heavily skewed towards the defensive side. The most obvious weakness resides in the middle of the line, even though the team invested third-round picks on tackles Sione Fua and Terrell McClain in the most recent draft. Both appear to be complementary players rather than impact performers, however, and veteran Ron Edwards turns 33 in July and is coming off a torn triceps. Finding a big, physical cornerback to play alongside standout Chris Gamble and who can allow the diminutive Captain Munnerlyn to move to a more suitable role covering the slot will also be a high priority, and the injury histories of outside linebacker Thomas Davis and right offensive tackle Jeff Otah create a need for additional depth at those positions as well.
2011 Record: 6-10
Top Needs: DT, CB, LB
First Three Picks: No. 9, No. 40, No. 104
Number of Selections: 7 (1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 6, 7)
RECENT FIRST ROUND HISTORY: 2011 - Cam Newton (QB, Auburn); 2010 - none; 2009 - none; 2008 - Jonathan Stewart (RB, Oregon), Jeff Otah (OT, Pittsburgh); 2007 - Jon Beason (LB, Miami-Florida); 2006 - DeAngelo Williams (RB, Memphis); 2005 - Thomas Davis (S/LB, Georgia); 2004 - Chris Gamble (CB, Ohio State); 2003 - Jordan Gross (OT, Utah); 2002 - Julius Peppers (DE, North Carolina).