Simple. Draft poorly and don’t develop the players you do draft. This results in a lack of NFL-caliber talent at multiple positions, which nicely sums up the Panthers these days.

Where things started to come badly unglued for the Panthers was the 2009 draft. Expectations were high following a playoff appearance, only the fourth in the team’s history. The Panthers had seven picks, including five in the second through fourth rounds. The hope was the Panthers could reload and keep on going. That didn’t happen. The players the Panthers took were:

Everette Brown, DE, 2nd round, 43rd overall pick
Sherrod Martin, S, 2nd round, 59th overall pick
Corvey Irvin DT, 3rd round, 94rd overall pick
Mike Goodson, RB, 4th round, 111th overall pick
Tony Fiammetta, FB, 4th round, 128th overall pick
Duke Robinson, T, 5th round, 163rd overall pick
Captain Munnerlyn, CB, seventh round, 216th overall pick

Brown, Irvin, Fiammetta, and Robinson were cut this preseason.
Missing with that high a percentage of that high draft picks is simply unacceptable. And it’s not a case of the players getting hurt or being the odd-man out because of the coaching change. All four were ineffective out of the chute. So that’s on the Panther’s front office. Had they met expectations, they would have gone a long way towards solving the team’s most pressing current problem area.

You can’t change the past. But the Panthers cannot afford any more poor drafts if they are to become relevant again.