5 Panthers players who need to step up after COVID-19 concerns

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Bravvion Roy
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Bravvion Roy /
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Carolina Panthers
(Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports) Julian Stanford /

Julian Stanford – Carolina Panthers OLB

Another prominent name on the reserve/COVID-19 list is Shaq Thompson, who has been playing his best football of the season in recent weeks. There might be a temptation for the Carolina Panthers to switch Jermaine Carter to the outside linebacker spot and put Tahir Whitehead back in. But this would undoubtedly be a step back considering how much the free-agent signing has struggled.

Julian Stanford might be a better play in this scenario. The player hasn’t seen much in the way of minutes on the field since the Panthers brought him in. But he does have the talent to make things happen, providing the former Wagner standout can hit the ground running.

Stanford has been used primarily on special teams this season, featuring in just one percent of Carolina’s defensive snaps. However, if Thompson cannot get off the list in time then the coaching staff would be prudent to increase this considerably.

It would also be a good audition of sorts for the player, who might just force his way into the Panthers’ long-term plans with a strong performance.

They have been crying out for better production from the second level all season outside of stud rookie Jeremy Chinn and Stanford has some intriguing athletic traits to go along with his experience.