Panthers depth chart: The projected OLB starters
When one looks at the current options on the Carolina Panthers depth chart at outside linebacker. It is clear that the onus will be on Shaq Thompson to produce the goods.
The former first-round pick counts $7.2 million against the Panthers’ salary cap heading into 2020. And Thompson now has the added pressure of becoming a locker room leader on his shoulders.
There is nothing to suggest he is not more than capable of thriving with this increased responsibility. Thompson has been a revelation since he joined the franchise and is one of the more important players on the Panthers depth chart next season.
If Thompson has the experience, then Yetur Gross-Matos provides the youthful exuberance at the other end. The second-round selection might prove to be a steal if he lives up to his ceiling. And the Panthers can use him either at outside linebacker or the defensive end spot should they wish.
Although Gross-Matos needs some work during running situations, he has all the tools needed to be a real success at the next level. His physical attributes are phenomenal and there should also be plenty of space to work in given the presence of No. 7 pick Derrick Brown, Stephen Weatherly, and Kawann Short in front of him.
Gross-Matos can also look to someone like Thompson as a role model and a player they can aspire to emulate. This will be another significant asset for the incoming rookie to call upon and will aid his overall development considerably.