5 players who deserved to win a Super Bowl with the Panthers

Dean Jones
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Thomas Davis
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Thomas Davis /
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Mike Rucker, Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Craig Jones/Getty Images) Mike Rucker /

Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. DEFENSIVE END. CAROLINA PANTHERS. MIKERUCKER. 87. 3. player

Carolina Panthers: Player No. 3 – Mike Rucker (DE)

The Carolina Panthers depended heavily on Mike Rucker throughout his time with the organization. This is a responsibility he took on extremely well to become a driving force behind the team’s success.

His best season for the Panthers came in 2003. The defensive end lit up quarterbacks across the league on his way to 12.5 sacks. And although the player’s influence waned somewhat as the years went on. There are few that would argue that his effort during this particular campaign should have come with a ring.

Rucker was part of a formidable defense that overcame the odds to clinch the NFC Championship in determined fashion. Rucker eventually finished his long-serving career in Carolina with 55.5 sacks, 422 combined tackles, 338 solo tackles, 28 pass deflections, and 15 forced fumbles.

The wear and tear of playing such a violent position forced Rucker to finally call it a day in 2007 after a nine-year stint with the franchise. There have been few more talented pass-rushers that put on a Carolina uniform before or since. And this is a further testament to the player’s influence on the Panthers during his prime years.

There will always be the case of what might have been regarding Rucker. If he had matched the production shown in 2002-3 for the majority of his career, then a possible Hall of Fame berth wouldn’t have been too far behind.