4 biggest offseason questions the Panthers need to answer
By Dean Jones
What will the Carolina Panthers do with Chinn?
Jeremy Chinn took to the next level like a duck to water. The Carolina Panthers made a shrewd move by trading up in order to select the Southern Illinois standout at No. 64 overall and his adjustment to not only the NFL but also a new position far exceeded even the greatest of expectations.
Chinn is a leading candidate for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year after a sensational campaign that included 117 tackles, five quarterback hits, two tackles for loss, one sack, two forced fumbles, five passes defended, one interception, and six pressures. His boundless energy and exceptional athleticism were noticeable right from the get-go and the player’s ability to inspire others around him was remarkable for someone so young.
This is even more incredible when one considers that Chinn was playing outside linebacker rather than his usual and preferred position of safety. The Panthers couldn’t have asked more from the second-round pick during his first year in a professional environment. But they now have a conundrum regarding how best to use him moving forward.
Defensive coordinator Phil Snow is keen for Chinn to make a return to safety next season. This might limit his influence on the line of scrimmage, which has been a big boost during the campaign, but the likes of Tre Boston and Juston Burris’ lack of reliability on the backend might make this move a reality.
One thing is for sure. Wherever Chinn lines up on the field, he will be a difference-maker.