Panthers No. 55: Is Christian Miller set for a sophomore rise?

(Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images) Christian Miller
(Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images) Christian Miller /

Could Christian Miller take a giant leap during his sophomore campaign as a professional to make an impact for the Carolina Panthers in 2020?

The Carolina Panthers head into 2020 with plenty of firepower at their disposal from a pass-rushing perspective. This was an area of real strength last season. And although the likes of Mario Addison and Bruce Irvin have moved on. There still appears to be some difference-makers who can make a significant impact.

Carolina’s defense might have struggled overall in 2019. But in terms of sacks gained, the Panthers ranked No. 2 in the NFL and just one behind the Pittsburgh Steelers. Defensive coordinator Phil Snow will be hoping for more of the same next time around. And if they can generate even more pressure it is going to do their chances of surprising those who have written them of the world of good.

Returning veteran Kawann Short and No. 7 overall pick Derrick Brown should sure up the interior and improve their run defense. And their space-eating capabilities is set to free up additional room on the outside for pass-rushers to utilize.

Continuing our countdown feature ahead of the new season, we now turn our attention to Carolina’s No. 55. Christian Miller showed some promise during his limited time on the field as a rookie. And the former Alabama standout has the potential to be an under-the-radar contributor for the Panthers in 2020.

Can Christian Miller take a leap forward with the Panthers in 2020?

Miller was selected in the fourth round last year after securing 8.5 sacks during his final campaign with the Crimson Tide. He has the versatility to play as a defensive end with his hand in the dirt. Or the player could make a contribution as an outside linebacker should the Panthers’ coaching staff choose to go in this direction.

There is an opening opposite Shaq Thompson heading into training camp. And although Jermaine Carter might be the favorite to secure this starting berth. There is every chance Miller could rise above him on the depth chart if he impresses over the next few weeks.

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The player made the field in seven games during his rookie campaign. And Miller caught the eye on his way to two sacks, two tackles for loss, two solo tackles, and two quarterback hits. He was blended into the lineup gradually, which also aided him considerably.

More will be expected with this experience under his belt. But there is strong competition for places at the position. And if Miller wants to see his role increase, then he will need to make his presence felt with a brand-new coaching staff watching on.

With the possibility of one of even no preseason games. It is going to make things that much more difficult for fringe players to stake their claim.

Miller has the benefit of some encouraging film for head coach Matt Rhule and Snow to call upon from last season. And his versatility and athletic prowess is something that Carolina sought heavily during free agency and the NFL Draft.

Miller has it all to do when the Panthers finally get together under strict guidelines ahead of their season opener against the Las Vegas Raiders. The coaching staff will be expecting his game to come on considerably. And a sophomore rise is not entirely out of the question.

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