5 Carolina Panthers facing boom or bust seasons in 2020

(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) Teddy Bridgewater
(Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images) Teddy Bridgewater /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Rob Leiter/Getty Images) Stephen Weatherly /

Carolina Panthers Player No. 4: Stephen Weatherly – DE

Another with a big opportunity in 2020 is Stephen Weatherly. The Carolina Panthers made him an offer he couldn’t refuse to prise him away from the Minnesota Vikings in free agency. And it could be a real coup for the organization if he reaches expectations.

Weatherly has performed well in a complementary role behind Pro Bowl duo Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffen in recent years. And there is real hope that the defensive end can reach new heights with more time on the field.

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His rise from an unfancied seventh-round pick to a starter is one that should inspire others with relatively low expectations entering the league. But what comes next for Weatherly will be equally as important.

The former Vanderbilt star will need to become a prolific pass-rushing force opposite Brian Burns from the outset. And there should be plenty of opportunities to get in the backfield thanks to the presence of Kawann Short and No. 7 overall selection Derrick Brown clogging up the interior.

If Weatherly doesn’t make his chance count, then the Panthers have second-rounder Yetur Gross-Matos waiting in the wings. This is something that the veteran will be acutely aware of. And it should result in an increased sense of urgency next season.

Weatherly seems like a strong character who is sure to use Gross-Matos’ presence on the roster as a source of motivation. But there is little disputing that 2020 is boom or bust in his pursuit to convince people he is more than a rotational rusher.