Panthers: DL power rankings ahead of 2020 training camp

(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Brian Burns
(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Brian Burns /
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Zach Kerr, Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Stephen Brashear/Getty Images) Zach Kerr /

6. player. 87. . . . ZACH KERR

Carolina Panthers No. 6: Zach Kerr (DT)

Zach Kerr was a big name arrival in free agency. And this is a further indication of the strength across the board on Carolina’s defensive front. The player is versatile enough to get the job done anywhere across the line thanks to his frame and surprising athleticism for a man his size.

Kerr has accumulated 76 solo tackles, 7.5 sacks, five pass deflections, 13 tackles for loss, and 18 quarterback hits during his career. He has played primarily as a nose tackle during this time. So there is a chance he can get even better with another force alongside him.

. . . YETUR GROSS-MATOS. 5. player. 87

Carolina Panthers No. 5: Yetur Gross-Matos (DE)

The Panthers might have a real steal on their hands in Yetur Gross-Matos. The former Penn State rusher fell into Carolina’s lap at No. 38 overall despite getting a mid-first-round draft grade after a phenomenal college career.

Gross-Matos has all the tools needed to become a prolific pass-rusher at the next level. He is athletic, possesses a sensational burst, and is explosive right off the block.

This makes him a nightmare for opposing linemen to stop. And if the rookie can make additions to his pass-rushing moves with more experience, then the sky is the limit for Gross-Matos going forward.

87. . . . STEPHEN WEATHERLY. 4. player

Carolina Panthers No. 4: Stephen Weatherly (DE)

The biggest financial outlay for the Panthers on defense from a free-agent perspective was the acquisition of defensive end Stephen Weatherly. The former Minnesota Viking has been a solid contributor from a rotational role during his career. And he will now look to make giant strides from a starting spot in 2020.

Having Yetur Gross-Matos breathing down his neck should ensure that complacency doesn’t become an issue. Weatherly is quality against the run and has enough pass-rushing tools to get the job done when it matters most.

The presence of Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen saw starting opportunities limited under Mike Zimmer. But the position with the Panthers is Weatherly’s to lose going into the season.