The Carolina Panthers reported on Thursday that former Missouri Tigers defensive end Kony Ealy officially signed his contract. Ealy was a second round draft choice by Carolina.
Ealy had a fantastic three year career as a Tiger. He had 55 tackles (27 for losses), 13 defended passes, 12.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, and one interception (a pick six actually).
Ealy was projected to possibly go in the first round round, but instead he was taken at 60th overall by Carolina. He will be a great addition to a Panthers defense that was considered to be one of the best in the NFL last year.
Marc Sessler of NFL.com doesn’t see Ealy as a starter in 2014, at least not right away that is.
“The nasty front seven remains intact with one intriguing addition in the form of second-round pick Kony Ealy, who will see snaps at end behind the disruptive duo of Greg Hardy and Charles Johnson. Carolina’s brightest hope to return to the playoffs is another dominant campaign from the first wave of Ron Rivera’s edgy D” – Sessler
Carolina won the NFC South last year with a 12-4 record and clinched a first round bye. They hosted their first playoff game since 2008, but ultimately lost to the San Francisco 49ers.
Carolina’s defense is pretty solid, which is why it was a bit puzzling that the Panthers drafted Ealy. Regardless, he should be able to come in and make an immediate impact for a team that competes in one of the toughest divisions in the NFL.
Keep in mind that since its formation in 2002, the same team hasn’t won the NFC South title two years in a row. If the Panthers want to break that streak, they’ll need to pull out all the stops this year. Hopefully Kony Ealy can be of assistance in that department.
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