4 pleasant surprises for the Carolina Panthers at training camp

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Mike Davis
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Mike Davis /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) Juston Burris /

Juston Burris – S

When the Carolina Panthers signed free-agent Juston Burris to a two-year, $8 million deal this offseason, just what sort of role he would play in 2020 was unclear. The safety’s place as a starter was further put in jeopardy by the organization selecting Jeremy Chinn and Kenny Robinson in the NFL Draft.

Burris has taken this challenge head-on during training camp. Such has been the standard of his play on a consistent basis, it is going to be immensely difficult for the Panthers’ coaching staff to give him anything other than a substantial position in their secondary next season.

His veteran leadership has really stood out during team drills. This is something Carolina does not have in abundance following a number of influential locker room figures leaving for pastures new this offseason. Burris has been more than willing to help those rookies who are looking to take his place in the lineup, which tells us all we need to know about the sort of character he is.

The player is no stranger to the area having played his college football at North Carolina State. There is a lot to like about the way Burris applied himself on a struggling Cleveland Browns’ defense in 2019, but despite earning a 69.4 grade from Pro Football Focus, it was not enough to extend his stay with the franchise.

Their loss might be Carolina’s gain in 2020. If Burris can bring the sort of impact he is showing in practice into a competitive environment, then a big role will not be far behind.