4 Panthers players who need to hit the ground running in 2020

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Teddy Bridgewater
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Teddy Bridgewater /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by David Eulitt/Getty Images) Tahir Whitehead /

Tahir Whitehead – LB

There is plenty of pressure on the shoulders of Tahir Whitehead next season. The Carolina Panthers selected the linebacker as the man to replace legendary figure Luke Kuechly following his shock retirement this offseason. But whether he can become anything more than a short-term solution is up for debate.

Whitehead has been a solid if not spectacular performer during his career. He possesses tremendous instincts that enable the player to be around the ball consistently and his tackling in open space is another standout feature of the former Temple Owl’s overall production.

His ability in coverage is something that poses a concern, especially given the way Kuechly excelled in this area. Whitehead is never going to be someone with the same caliber as the perennial All-Pro. But that does not mean he cannot produce enough consistency to make a difference at the second level.

There is no denying the fact that Whitehead needs to get off to a good start. Playing in Kuechly’s shadow is not going to be easy. But the position should be his all season given the lack of any real depth behind him.

This should provide Whitehead with the security blanket he needs to thrive in a different environment. He was given a one-year, $2.5 million deal in free agency and there could be a longer commitment in the offing if the player reaches or even exceeds expectations.