Panthers No. 56: Can Jermaine Carter secure a starting spot?

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Jermaine Carter
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Jermaine Carter /

Can Jermaine Carter make a successful transition to outside linebacker and earn a starting job with the Carolina Panthers in 2020?

The Carolina Panthers are in the final stages of planning before their return to training camp later this month. Rookies are set to report on Tuesday after receiving approval from league officials. And they will be swiftly followed by other roster members and those recovering from injuries.

It is going to be a very important few weeks for the Panthers. How much chemistry they can build in a short space of time will go a long way to determining just what sort of success one can expect from the roster in 2020.

A host of senior individuals have moved onto pastures new. And the Panthers will also be without the services of legendary linebacker Luke Kuechly following his shock retirement.

This might have left the team facing more questions than answers. But it has also opened plenty of opportunities for other players who are set to step up and fill the void.

Continuing our countdown feature ahead of the new season, we now turn our attention to Carolina’s No. 56. Jermaine Carter may have come into the NFL as an inside linebacker. But there is every chance he can earn a starting berth on the edge in 2020.

The Panthers need someone to occupy the slot opposite Shaq Thompson at the second level. Carter is entering his third season as a professional. And it is a chance that the player cannot let pass up.

Jermaine Carter has a favorites’ chance to start for the Panthers in 2020

There is plenty to be encouraged about regarding the skills Carter could bring to a defensive front seven that has the potential to be an area of strength in Carolina. He is versatile, athletic, and has tremendous instincts in either running or passing situations.

Should the Panthers decide to go with Carter on the edge, then his pass-rushing moves will need to improve slightly on the edge. They also have the option of using him as a two-down outside linebacker and letting their second-round pick Yetur Gross-Matos fill the role in obvious passing situations.

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The former fifth-round pick out of Maryland was on the field for 20.9 percent of Carolina’s defensive snaps in 2019. He recorded 44 combined tackles, 29 solo tackles, 0.5 sacks, three tackles for loss, and two quarterback hits. Carter earned a modest 54.0 grade from Pro Football Focus. And the jury appears to still be out on his chances of becoming a prolonged starter in the NFL.

Players normally show more in their third year. And the Panthers will be hoping this is the case with Carter. He is heading into the penultimate season of his deal. So if he can show promise and impress the new coaching staff, it will do his chances of a longer stay with the franchise the world of good.

Carter will be someone that is getting thrown in at the deep end. But he does have some positive experiences to call upon last season that will stand him in good stead as the player looks to catch the eye of a brand-new coaching staff.

He does appear to be the favorite for the second outside linebacker position in Phil Snow’s 4-3 base scheme. But winning the job will be the easy part.

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