On another Panthers message board, a lot of hub-bub was made over the panthers lack of DL help all draft long. Especially since Kris Jenkins was traded away to the Jets leaving us with Kemo, Lewis and some other "guys" in at Defensive Tackle. I tend to put my faith in Fox for better and for worse so I got to thinking "how are we a better team with the addition of a 6th round run stuffer?" So I did some digging.
In the John Fox era (2002-Current) we have had some half-way decent run defense. Not always great, but not too horrible for six years. Kris Jenkins has been one of our most talented Defensive Linemen since he got here in 2001. Going back to 2001 to present (www.panthers.com/gameday
for all the stats) I've made a rather interesting discovery.
The best run defense year of the John Fox era was 2005. Best for yards, average, and TDs. Also the fewest run attempts by our opponets. Guess who only played in one game in 2005? Kris Jenkins. The position was handeled by Jordan Carstens, Brenston Buckner, and Kindal Moorehead. An aging vet, an Iowa pig farmer, and a 5th round pick. Lets see what we have to look foreward to for 2008 then.
Kemo, big line plugger doing his job. Lewis is a penetrating pass rusher on the inside, and Stephen Williams, Gary Gibson, and finally our 6th round selection Nick Hayden.
Does this mean I'm jumping for joy at our incredible depth and talent at DT? Not at all. But the Panthers coaching staff has been here before with less and done more. So this will be an interesting off season as far as DT goes. Which vets will we bring in? We have to bring someone in! Which undrafted FAs are we going to go after? Interesting stuff!