Carolina Panthers: Can Bruce Hector make a contribution in 2020?

(Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images) Bruce Hector
(Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images) Bruce Hector /

Bruce Hector is the latest edition to the Carolina Panthers, but can the defensive tackle make any sort of contribution in 2020?

The Carolina Panthers further bolstered their defensive line options on Monday. Bruce Hector was picked up off waivers following his release by the Philadelphia Eagles. And he will now be given a shot at making the 53-man roster.

In order to make room for the defensive tackle, the Carolina Panthers parted ways with undrafted wide receiver TreVontae Hights. The former TCU star was hoping to push his way up the depth chart. But this is an area of the field where the organization is particularly strong.

Whether Hector can do enough to stake a claim in such a short space of time remains to be seen. NFL teams are without any preseason games this year due to the current climate. And this will make things even more difficult for fringe players to catch the eye.

Hector didn’t see much time on the field with the Eagles, starting once in two seasons. He found it difficult to get minutes ahead of some established veteran players. But there is a chance for the player to find his way onto the Panthers’ rotation behind starting duo Kawann Short and No. 7 overall pick Derrick Brown.

Bruce Hector’s window of opportunity with the Carolina Panthers

The options behind Carolina’s starters could be better. Zach Kerr was brought in during free agency, Woodrow Hamilton has been a bit-part player, and the Panthers also took Bravvion Roy with their sixth-round pick in 2020.

Short had his problems staying healthy in 2019. And if any complications from his torn rotator cuff resurface, then the Panthers will need a strong contingency plan in place.

Hector went undrafted in 2018 despite a sensational college career with South Florida. The lineman was a commanding presence on the line of scrimmage. And he finished with 18 sacks, 28 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, three pass deflections, and 60 solo tackles.

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The player hasn’t been able to transition this into a professional environment as yet. But there is a lot to like about the impact Hector could make if everything clicks into place right away.

He fits into the athletic and dynamic scheme that defensive coordinator Phil Snow plans to utilize in 2020. And Hector’s stout frame makes him a difficult proposition to move off the block.

Little is expected of the Panthers in 2020. This is something that the organization can use to their advantage. And if they have quality backups behind their projected starters, it will further aid them in the short-term.

Hector will need to get up to speed quickly in terms of knowing the playbook. And he knows all about the ever-changing world of the NFL after being traded to the Arizona Cardinals, only to end up right back on the Eagles soon after.

This is all part of the business, so Hector will know what needs to be done and what is at stake. The Panthers are now fully readying themselves for their Week 1 encounter against the Las Vegas Raiders. So there is no margin for error where Hector is concerned.

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His arrival in Carolina is intriguing, at the very least. But whether he can catch the eye enough is another matter entirely.