Carolina Panthers: 4 strongest positions heading into camp
Carolina Panthers strongest positions (No. 4): Running back
– Christian McCaffrey, Reggie Bonnafon, Jordan Scarlett, Mike Davis, Rodney Smith
The Carolina Panthers leaned heavily on their running back spot last season. This was down to some inconsistent quarterback play that left their fortunes squarely on the shoulders of Christian McCaffrey.
The All-Pro took on this responsibility with his customary grit and determination. This saw the player become only the third in NFL history to reach 1,000-yards rushing and receiving in the same season.
One suspects that the Panthers will go to McCaffrey early and often when competitive action returns. However, they recently gave him a four-year extension worth $64 million and they will need to protect their investment somewhat to ensure quality for the duration of his deal.
Giving McCaffrey more than 400 combined touches once again would be foolish. But there is nothing to suggest the former first-round pick is not going to be one of the main beneficiaries of Joe Brady’s high-octane scheme.
The Panthers also hold out high hopes for Reggie Bonnafon after an eye-catching 2019. The back made the most out of his opportunities on his way to a lofty yards-per-carry average of 7.3. And he could make another leap forward in the No. 2 spot next time around.
Jordan Scarlett didn’t see much action during his rookie campaign. So he is still something of an unknown quantity. The same can also be said of undrafted free agent Rodney Smith, who was hugely productive during his time in Minnesota and will look to build on this in order to achieve a spot on the 53-man roster.
The status of Mike Davis is relatively uncertain. The player counts $3 million against the Panthers’ salary cap and would not cost the franchise any dead cap money if he is moved on.