4. Greg Olsen
The Panthers made a concerted effort to add as many weapons as they could for Cam Newton this offseason. The truth is, the return of a healthy Greg Olsen might be the most important boost of all. The normally durable tight end only managed to play seven games last season.
That obviously had a negative effect on the Panthers offense. Olsen is more than just a security blanket for Newton, he’s a dangerous weapon down the field. We aren’t talking about a tight end that only runs five yard patterns in the flat.
Olsen only caught 17 passes for 191 yards last year. That’s a stark departure from his previous three seasons where he posted 1,000-yard campaigns. Newton doesn’t necessarily need Olsen to get all the way back to that level of productivity, but a nice 70 catch, 750 yard season would do wonders for this offense.
The presence of Olsen on the field also does a lot of Carolina’s running game. He isn’t a great blocker, but he is willing. More importantly, he can help set the edge by serving as a decoy. When he flies out wide in a pass pattern he usually takes the outside linebacker with him. Olsen’s ability to remove one defender from the box can really boost the Panthers’ ground game.