12 best performing Carolina Panthers according to PFF grades

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Brian Burns
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Brian Burns /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Russell Okung /

No. 8: Russell Okung – Carolina Panthers OT

  • PFF grade – 75.4

Not having Pro Bowl left tackle Russell Okung healthy in recent weeks is something that’s really hurt the Carolina Panthers. They were counting on the Super Bowl winner to provide Teddy Bridgewater with consistent blindside protection after they acquired him via a trade that sent Trai Turner to the Los Angeles Chargers, but he’s appeared in just five of 11 games so far.

When Okung has been able to take his place in the lineup, his production has been stellar. But the fact he cannot be relied upon from a health perspective puts his future with the franchise in serious doubt once his $13 million in base salary comes off the books after this season.

No. 7: Zach Kerr – Carolina Panthers DT

  • PFF grade – 75.7

One of the more surprising performers for the Panthers in 2020 is Zach Kerr. The defensive tackle was seen more as a rotational piece he was brought to the organization in free agency. But he was thrust into a starting role early when Kawann Short was forced to undergo surgery that ended his campaign.

This has been the making of Kerr. He’s managed to impact the game in both run support and pass-rushing situations on his way to eight quarterback hits, one sack, one tackle for loss, and six pressures.

No. 6: Christian McCaffrey – Carolina Panthers RB

  • PFF grade – 76.0

The absence of Christian McCaffrey has been sorely felt by the Panthers, especially during their five-game losing slump that would have looked far different had their All-Pro running back been on the field. He looks set to miss yet another game at the Minnesota Vikings in Week 12 with a shoulder problem and it remains to be seen whether we’ll see the former first-round pick after the bye.

McCaffrey’s talent is unquestioned and he’s been the focal point during the three games he’s managed to take part in. Carolina should be ultra-cautious with their face of the franchise between now and the end of the season and focus on 2021 with relatively little to play for besides pride.