Thursday, January 6, 2011

Panthers should take Clemson DE Bowers

Now that Andrew Luck is out of the picture for the Carolina Panthers, the top choice in the NFL Draft should be a player familiar to football fans here - Da'Quan Bowers of Clemson.

Bowers is 6 feet 4 and 280 pounds and one of the few elite rushers expected to be available in the draft. Carolina has the No. 1 pick, and we're not fans of NFL teams drafting local guys to sell tickets. After a game or two, all that wears off. But getting Julius Peppers with the second pick overall was a perfect example of a local guy - UNC - who also fit the need of the region's team.

Carolina is in the same boat now. Peppers joined a downtrodden team and helped turn it into a winner. Bowers is as destructive a force on defense as the ACC has seen since Peppers, and he'd help the Panthers right away.

On offense, it remains true that Carolina is going to have to find out if Jimmy Clausen can win in the NFL after all.  The Panthers have a horrible offense, with Steve Smith and the offensive line declining. But defense is an even more urgent problem. Charles Johnson had 11.5 sacks for Carolina at one end, but he has little help. Adding Bowers would be a start toward respectability on defense, and a great defense always has been the foundation of Carolina's best teams.

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