Carolina Panthers Notebook: Haruki Nakamura, Cordarrelle Patterson


Some notes and news regarding the Carolina Panthers and the NFC South in a new “notebook” piece that could become a regular feature around this site.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

1. The Carolina Panthers made sure to give safety Haruki Nakamura a paycut, which is definitely what the former Baltimore Ravens special teamer deserved. The Panthers saved a little over $500,000 in cap in making the move, and that little bit could go some way in getting the Panthers to make an upgrade at safety. Charles Godfrey just can’t tackle, and the Panthers best safety- Sherrod Martin- is set to hit free agency and might not be re-signed due to injuries. I hope we see Martin back, though, because he is a quality starter and should be able to make his way back on the team.

Nakamura wasn’t actually as bad as people think, and he graded out higher than Godfrey did last season. The problem is that Nakamura isn’t talented enough to be a starting safety in this league, unless if it’s at SS in a restricted role. He just gets burned far too often, and that play against the Atlanta Falcons is still fresh in our minds even if it occurred early in the season. Nakamura’s tragic flaw is that his worst plays come at the worst times possible, so I think we tend to exaggerate his struggles.

2. Tennessee Voluntteers wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina, and he could be on his way to being the top-drafted wide receiver in this class. There is no denying Patterson’s athleticism and explosiveness that is comparable to Falcons WR Julio Jones, but let’s just say that I’m not one of the guys on the Patterson hype-train; I would prefer Keenan Allen to be the top-drafted WR.

Patterson will most likely not get drafted by the Panthers, as the team has a bigger need at defensive tackle (and at guard) than wide receiver. But you can’t rule anything out. Here’s what Patterson said to the Panthers official site, “When I was little, I always thought about playing for the Panthers. My mama talks about that all the time. If I could be that close to home, I know she’d be at every game.”

I love these stories about draft prospects talking about which teams they grew up rooting for.

3. My good friend Ken Dye at FanSided’s Carolina Panthers blog Cat Crave wonders if the Panthers 2013 NFL Draft plans will center on offense. If they do, then Patterson could be playing for his childhood team.

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