4 Carolina Panthers players set for big things in 2021

(Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) Yetur Gross-Matos
(Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images) Yetur Gross-Matos /
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Carolina Panthers
(Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports) Omar Bayless /

Omar Bayless – Carolina Panthers WR

Of all the players who stood out for the Carolina Panthers during training camp, Omar Bayless arguably made the biggest impression. The undrafted free-agent wide receiver came to the organization with a big chip on his shoulder after failing to hear his name called during the 2020 NFL Draft despite an exceptional college career at Arkansas State.

This strong impression meant Bayless looked a lock to make the 53-man roster before a serious knee injury cut his rookie campaign short before a competitive down was played.

The Panthers kept Bayless around, which tells us plenty about what the coaching staff thinks of his ability to make a contribution long term. Providing he makes a return to health this offseason, there could be a real opening for him to make a difference in 2021.

Curtis Samuel, Brandon Zylstra, Keith Kirkwood, and Pharoh Cooper are all out of contract and may not be back. This would leave Carolina with just D.J. Moore, Robby Anderson, and Bayless before additional reinforcements are sought in free agency or the 2021 NFL Draft.

Bayless is already familiar with the system. Being around the roster without making it onto the field this season will have been another invaluable learning experience the player can put to good use.

Much will depend on whether there are any further complications regarding the player’s knee. But the early signs are positive and big things could be in the wideout’s future if he hits the ground running when OTAs begin.