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Which Panthers player would you steal for the Eagles?

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Who are you taking?

NFL: Cincinnati Bengals at Carolina Panthers Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

A common post the SB Nation NFL team sites have done throughout this years asks the question: “Which [opposing team’s] player would [your favorite team’s] fans take?” With the Philadelphia Eagles set to play the Carolina Panthers on Saturday, it’s time to address the question and familiarize yourself with the opponent’s roster.

OFFENSE

Cam Newton is off to a solid start. The Panthers’ starting quarterback is completing 65.9% of his passes for 1,158 yards (6.8 yards per attempt), nine touchdowns, four interceptions, and a 93.2 passer rating (16th out of 34 qualified quarterbacks). Newton is obviously a rushing threat and he’s gained 208 yards and one touchdown on 45 attempts (4.6 yards per attempt).

The Eagles did a good job of limiting Newton as a passer last season. They pressured him into throwing two interceptions, which dropped his passer rating to 48.5 in that game. He was more effective on the ground with 11 rushes for 71 yards and one score.

Newton is a fantastic talent but he can also be inconsistent. I’m not taking him over Carson Wentz.

Christian McCaffrey is the Panthers’ most prolific offensive player outside out of Newton. The second-year running back was a fan-favorite pick for the Eagles in the 2017 NFL Draft but Philadelphia never had the chance to select him.

McCaffrey wasn’t very efficient running the ball as a rookie; he only averaged 3.7 yards per attempt. He’s shown improvement this year as he’s up to 4.9. But while his rushing efficiency has improved, his catching efficiency has taken a step back. McCaffrey, who leads the Panthers in targets, only has 34 receptions for 238 yards. That’s an average of 7.0. His longest reception is 18 yards.

Nigel Bradham did a fantastic job of absolutely shutting down McCaffrey last season. It was a career game for him. The Eagles could really use that performance again this week.

The Panthers’ receiver options aren’t overly appetizing.

Devin Funchess leads Carolina in receiving with 312 yards. He’s averaging 13.6 yards per reception. Funchess can make plays on the ball in the air but he’s not going to create separation.

D.J. Moore is a guy who get vertical but he’s coming off a game where he made some truly horrendous mistakes. The 2018 first-round pick did a terrible job of trying to down a punt on special teams and he showed poor awareness/ball security with two fumbles.

Old friend Torrey Smith really stepped up during the Eagles’ playoff run after a lackluster regular season showing in 2017. Smith is still a deep threat so the Eagles will have to account for that.

The Panthers’ offensive line has allowed the second fewest quarterback hits this season. Carolina ranks 12th overall in adjusted sack rate, according to Football Outsiders. Right tackle Taylor Moton’s effort has contributed to the cause. He’s only allowed five pressures and no hits or sacks. The Eagles could use some tackle help with both Jason Peters and Lane Johnson banged up.

DEFENSE

Luke Kuechly is the face of the Panthers’ defense. The veteran middle linebacker is a real stud. Kuechly is a tackling machine and he can be counted on in coverage as well. And he’s hardly the only good linebacker on the team. Thomas Davis is also very talented. With that said, I hardly think the Eagles’ biggest need is at linebacker with Jordan Hicks and Bradham playing well.

Kawann Short is one of the best pass rushing interior defenders in the league. His 17 total pressures (13 hurries, two hits, two sacks) in 122 pass rush snaps ranks as the sixth best pressure rate at his position this year. He’s right behind Fletcher Cox, who is fifth. And just think of the Short Cox jokes.

Defensive ends Mario Addison (3.5) and Julius Peppers (1.0) have combined for 4.5 sacks this year. It’s crazy that Peppers is still a pass rush threat at 38 years old now.

With the Eagles needing secondary help, the proposition of stealing another team’s safety or corner is tempting. Donte Jackson has shown some ability as a rookie; he already has three picks this season. NFL quarterbacks have a 54.0 passer rating when targeting him. Only four corners rank better in that category. Safeties Mike Adams and Eric Reid are capable players but nothing overly special.

MY PICK

The Eagles are really thin at defensive tackle. Fletcher Cox, Haloti Ngata (who’s missed the last two games), and Treyvon Hester are the only full-time DTs on the 53-man roster. So with that said, give me Short.

As previously mentioned, the Eagles were really able to limit Newton’s effectiveness last year by making him uncomfortable with pressure up the middle. Short’s presence would prevent Cox from having to play so many snaps and it’d draw some extra attention off him.

YOU DECIDE

If you were deciding for the Eagles, who would you take? Vote in the poll below (click here if you can’t see it).

Poll

Pick one Panthers player to steal for the Eagles

This poll is closed

  • 0%
    Cam Newton
    (19 votes)
  • 29%
    Luke Kuechly
    (868 votes)
  • 35%
    Christian McCaffrey
    (1050 votes)
  • 20%
    Kawann Short
    (594 votes)
  • 2%
    Torrey Smith
    (63 votes)
  • 0%
    Devin Funchess
    (25 votes)
  • 1%
    D.J. Moore
    (44 votes)
  • 0%
    Taylor Moton
    (25 votes)
  • 0%
    Julius Peppers
    (17 votes)
  • 0%
    Thomas Davis
    (16 votes)
  • 3%
    Eric Reid
    (115 votes)
  • 3%
    Donte Jackson
    (93 votes)
  • 0%
    Mike Adams
    (9 votes)
  • 0%
    Mario Addison
    (1 vote)
  • 0%
    (Other)
    (20 votes)
2959 votes total Vote Now