5 Panthers players who need to step up in Year 2 with the team

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Troy Pride Jr.
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Troy Pride Jr. /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Keith Kirkwood /

Which Carolina Panthers need to step up their level of production during their second season as part of the organization in 2021?

The Carolina Panthers head into a crucial period of OTAs and training camp in the weeks and months ahead with plenty of excitement surrounding the franchise. To say it’s been another eventful offseason would be the biggest of understatements, with general manager Scott Fitterer wasting no time in stamping his mark following his arrival from the Seattle Seahawks.

At least on the face of things, the roster looks a lot better now than it did when the 2020 campaign came to a conclusion. They have dynamic young talent on both sides of the ball who should all progress their skills further next season and beyond, so even though postseason football might be a stretch for the Panthers, the team might be too far away providing everything clicks into place.

Although there have been plenty of new arrivals to the roster, those already on the team will need to make their presence felt to keep momentum trending in the right direction. This is the cornerstone of every successful NFL franchise and if Carolina can get improved production from those entering their second year on the team, it’s going to assist their cause enormously.

With this in mind, here are five players who need to raise their respective games in Year 2 with the Panthers.

Player No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) John Miller /

John Miller – Carolina Panthers OG

John Miller went through some struggles in pass protection after a positive start following his free-agent arrival in 2020. But the Panthers obviously saw enough in the veteran to think he might be able to raise his game with more in the way of talent around him.

The former Cincinnati Bengal penned a one-year extension this offseason at a minimal financial cost, which could be a solid investment if Miller becomes a more table presence on the interior. He should be helped with Carolina’s decision to draft Brady Christensen and Deonte Brown, who could become Day 1 starters with a smooth transition to the pro ranks.

Miller should be a starter when competitive action gets underway barring underperformance in training camp. What comes next will be down to the player, who gave up three sacks and conceded six penalties from 910 snaps in 2020.