The Carolina Panthers and their fans across the nation spent the majority of 2011 in complete shock as they watched their boring Panthers turn into an offensive juggernaut. Behind Cam Newton and on the wings of offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski, the Panthers reached heights that they had never seen before. As we approach 2012, everyone is excited to see what new surprises the Panthers unveil. Amazingly, the team will be much improved once again with upgrades at several offensive positions. Despite the obvious upgrades of the Mike Tolbert signing and David Gettis' return, here are five sleeper guys on offense that could surprise the NFL:
Although Rosario was signed as an undrafted free agent, everything I have heard about this guy is that he is expected to compete for plenty of playing time. With a build like his, it is easy to understand why. Standing 6'5" and weighing around 225 pounds, he would be a load for any short corner to keep down in the red zone. After watching some film on him at UCLA, I walked away feeling like we stole him. Rosario will be much better than anybody thought he would be.
Adams is a known commodity on special teams, but I think he will contribute in the slot a great deal. With his elusive talent and ability to get open, I know that Cam Newton will find a way to get the ball in his hands. Keep in mind we have a magician for an offensive coordinator in Chudzinski. A guy like Adams inspires a coach like Chudzinski. Expect Adams to play a role on special teams and offense as well.
Barnidge has shown flashes of talent over his short time in Carolina, but has been injured often. If he stays healthy, he will surprise a number of folks with his down the field abilities and sure hands. The key is to keep him on the field.
Pilares quietly had a solid season in 2011 both in returning kicks and in catching the football when he was on the field. He did not get very many touches, but that will change this year. Pilares is a great talent that simply needs to get out there. If the Panthers get slow starts from David Gettis or Brandon LaFell, then Pilares could end up shocking some folks.
Poole is the dark horse of all dark horses. He is playing on a team that has Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams at running back, and the greatest rushing quarterback in history. On top of that, the Panthers signed all purpose full back Mike Tolbert as well. One might wonder how he could have an impact at all. Special teams aside, Poole is a solid back that fits perfectly into what the Panthers do on the ground. He also is a good receiver out of the backfield. Expect him to make the team and get a few touches throughout the season. Someday, he could be part of "Double Trouble" when the Panthers inevitably get rid of Stewart or Williams.
*Southern is a huge Carolina Panthers fan that is convinced that he will see a Super Bowl Trophy in Charlotte within five years.
More from this contributor:
- Why Joe Adams Will Be Successful for the Carolina Panthers Right Away: Fan's Opinion
- 2012 Carolina Panthers Schedule Features Tough Road Games: Fan's View
- 2012 Carolina Panthers Schedule Features Cam Newton in Prime Time: Fan's Reaction
- Three Reasons the Carolina Panthers Can Win the NFC South in 2012: Fan's Opinion
- Why Amini Silatolu was the Best Draft Pick for the Carolina Panthers: Fan Reaction
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