Ranking the NFC South after week one of free agency

Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Atlanta Falcons
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Frank Reich
NFL Combine / Justin Casterline/GettyImages

2. Carolina Panthers

Ranking the Carolina Panthers is incredibly difficult not knowing what the team is going to do with their first overall pick. Looking at the roster, however, and considering their potential if they added Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud it becomes clear this is a two-team race.

The defense took a solid step forward and despite spending much of the season with Matt Rhule as their head coach the team finished a game away from winning the division with Sam Darnold at quarterback. The defense has great building blocks and the run game is going to get better with the addition of Miles Sanders.

Add in the signings of Vonn Bell, Shy Tuttle, Andy Dalton, and Hayden Hurst and this team is clearly the first or second-best roster in the division. Give Frank Reich the right quarterback and this team has a clear argument as division favorites.

What is keeping Carolina from claiming that spot now is the lack of help at receiver and the question of what rookie quarterback is the right fit for this offense? If the Panthers find the right answers to both of these questions it is a coin flip in the 2023 season who wins the division? For now, however, it clearly isn't the Panthers who are winning the off-season.