Yetur Gross-Matos over Stephen Weatherly?
There does appear to be a chance that Yetur Gross-Matos will fill the starting defensive end spot opposite Brian Burns heading into their season opener. The Carolina Panthers opted to put the former Penn State standout ahead of free-agent acquisition Stephen Weatherly on the depth chart. But both players should be able to come in and make a difference when required.
Gross-Matos has left a lasting impression during training camp. His explosiveness off the edge has been there for all to see and this has only heightened expectations regarding his potential both during his rookie campaign and long-term.
If Weatherly is forced to settle for a rotational role once again, it would be a significant blow. The former seventh-round pick chose to land in Carolina with the promise of more involvement after performing well as a backup with the Minnesota Vikings. But his place in the starting lineup is far from guaranteed if this unofficial depth chart is any indication.
The Panthers will be wary about how much pressure they put on Gross-Matos during his initial transition to the next level. Having Weatherly on the roster is a nice security blanket to have and they should bring the best out of each other in pursuit of earning starting recognition.
It will be interesting to see how this one plays out. But the fact Gross-Matos is even in this situation tells us plenty about his eye-catching efforts in Carolina so far.