5 sophomore stars set to shine for the Carolina Panthers in 2021

(Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports) Jeremy Chinn
(Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports) Jeremy Chinn /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Jeremy Chinn /

Which Carolina Panthers players entering their second season in a professional environment could be set to shine in 2021?

The Carolina Panthers relied heavily on their youth movement in 2020 after making wholesale changes to their roster. This was a sink or swim scenario for the unproven group, who coped well overall with the rigors of the next level, even though it only resulted in the organization finishing with a 5-11 record for the second straight year.

Nobody was expecting miracles right away. But the fact Carolina pushed leading Super Bowl contenders like the Kansas City Chiefs, Green Bay Packers, and New Orleans Saints all the way to the wire in close contests was hugely encouraging, to put it mildly.

This is a solid foundation from which to build, of that there is little doubt.

However, what comes next in 2021 is going to go a long way to determining just how much longer Carolina’s loyal fanbase has to wait before they have a legitimate postseason contender to cheer.

Recruitment has been solid during the first month of free agency. The Panthers made some shrewd additions that didn’t break the bank and if they can bolster this with another strong NFL Draft class, it could see some real progress next time around.

They will also be counting on rookie players taking another leap forward in Year 2. Here are five sophomores that can have a huge say for the Panthers in 2021.