4 sneaky threats the Panthers should worry about vs. Cardinals

(Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports) Dan Arnold
(Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports) Dan Arnold /
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Carolina Panthers
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Isaiah Simmons /

Isaiah Simmons – LB

There were plenty of expectations on the shoulders of Isaiah Simmons heading into his rookie season. The Arizona Cardinals selected the do-it-all linebacker at No. 8 overall after the Carolina Panthers passed on the former Clemson standout one spot earlier to take Derrick Brown.

This was met by derision by some sections of Carolina’s fanbase, who felt Simmons could provide the Panthers with a much-needed spark at the second level following the shock retirement of Luke Kuechly.

Unbeknown to them at the time, the decision-makers had someone else in mind for this role. The Panthers moved back into the second round in order to acquire Jeremy Chinn from Southern Illinois, who has been arguably the team’s brightest performer so far this season.

Simmons has been used sparingly by the Cardinals as he adjusts to life at the next level. He has featured in just 18 percent of the team’s defensive snaps through three games, but there should be plenty more to come as the campaign progresses.

His supreme athleticism made Simmons one of the stars of the draft evaluation process. He starred for the Tigers at the college level and he comes into this game at the Panthers with a big chip on his shoulder given their preference for Brown at No. 7 overall.

This might be all Simmons needs for a breakout game in Week 4 and this is another element to the contest that shouldn’t be overlooked.