Examining impact of each Panthers player on COVID-19 list
By Dean Jones
Yetur Gross-Matos – Carolina Panthers DE
There is a lot to like about the way Yetur Gross-Matos has applied himself whenever he’s been on the field as a rookie. The Carolina Panthers were overjoyed when the Penn State edge rusher fell into their laps at No. 38 overall and although the player has endured his fair share of complications in 2020, he has the tools needed to forge a successful career in the NFL.
Gross-Matos dealt with a high ankle sprain earlier this season and being on the reserve/COVID-19 list has the potential to deny him some valuable reps down the stretch. People react differently to the virus from a recovery perspective, so just how he bounces back will be crucial.
Shaq Thompson – Carolina Panthers OLB
Just when Shaq Thompson was starting to play well, something like this throws a spanner in the works. The outside linebacker struggled to get going during the first half of the campaign but has been a real spark at the second level since Carolina decided to bench Tahir Whitehead and put Jermaine Carter at inside linebacker instead.
Thompson had a lot riding on the remaining four games. The former first-round selection needs to prove he is worthy of a substantial pay increase coming his way in 2021 and any time he misses is going to complicate matters.
Zach Kerr – Carolina Panthers DT
The emergence of Zach Kerr after Kawann Short’s season ended prematurely for the second straight year has been a real positive for the Panthers. He has been a stout presence on the defensive line interior and his Pro Football Focus grade of 84.9 is a further reflection on just what an impact he’s made.
Having Kerr out of action will damage a threadbare group that doesn’t have much in the way of experience. Of all the players put on the reserve/COVID-19 list by the organization on Monday, he will be missed more than most.