Carolina Panthers: The stiff task awaiting Quin Blanding at camp

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) Quin Blanding
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) Quin Blanding /

What sort of task awaits Quin Blanding in the coming weeks at training camp as he looks to earn a spot on the Carolina Panthers’ 53-man roster?

The countdown is well and truly on for the Carolina Panthers ahead of their return to competitive action. This is the most intriguing campaign in recent memory for the franchise. And things could go either way after an unprecedented offseason of change.

The Carolina Panthers became stagnant during Ron Rivera’s final two seasons at the helm. This played a leading role in the front office firing him during the campaign. And a breath of fresh air led by Matt Rhule could be just what the team is looking for.

Things might get worse before they get better in Carolina. But it is vital that their fanbase sees the bigger picture regarding their fortunes in 2020. This is a young roster who is being thrown in at the deep end. So whatever success that comes their way will be something of a bonus ahead of another pivotal offseason period next year.

Rebuilds of this magnitude take time. But owner David Tepper will want to have a contender by the time his ambitious off-field plans are officially in place.

The Panthers’ offense looks ready to roll with some outstanding playmakers. And if their defense can hold up its end of the bargain, then there is definite potential to surprise those who have laughed off their chances.

Continuing our countdown series ahead of the new season, we now turn our attention to Carolina’s No. 37. Quin Blanding is a relative newcomer who has found it hard to get an opportunity in the NFL so far. But he survived the Panthers’ early cuts which should give him plenty of reasons to be encouraged.

Quin Blanding’s path to the Carolina Panthers

Blanding has the sort of versatility to play anywhere in the secondary. This is something that Rhule clearly likes from his players. But whether the defensive back can make the most out of this during a limited period of time at training camp remains to be seen.

It seems somewhat bizarre that Blanding didn’t hear his name called during the 2018 NFL Draft. He starred for Virginia over a four-year period. And his supreme consistency was a standout feature of his overall game.

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The player eventually ended his college tenor with 492 combined tackles, 259 solo tackles, nine tackles for loss, one sack, ten interceptions, 16 pass deflections, and one forced fumble. This was not enough for Blanding to get drafted. But it wasn’t long before he was picked up on the undrafted free-agent market by the Washington Football Team.

Things didn’t pan out as the player would have hoped in Washington. But his experience as a member of the Panthers’ practice squad last season will serve him well as he looks for a more substantial role next time around.

Moving up the depth chart is an immensely difficult proposition at the best of times. And this is further prevalent when one considers the lack of OTAs, minicamps, or preseason games before their Week 1 opener against the Las Vegas Raiders.

Every member of the Panthers’ roster is working with a clean slate. This comes with a new coaching staff more often than not. But the task awaiting Blanding could not be steeper.

The likes of Tre Boston, Jeremy Chinn, Juston Burris, and Kenny Robinson appear better placed on the depth chart. And Blanding might be forced to settle for a place on the practice squad in 2020 once again.

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