Is Denzel Perryman the Carolina Panthers’ most underrated player?

(Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) Denzel Perryman
(Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) Denzel Perryman /

Could linebacker Denzel Perryman be the most underrated player on the Carolina Panthers heading into a crucial 2021 campaign?

The Carolina Panthers promise to be an exciting team to watch in 2021. They have a lot of young talent with the potential to bring their respective games on a significant amount next season and beyond, which bodes well for the team’s chances of making a strong run at a winning record for the first time since 2017.

This bears even more significance on the defensive side of the ball. Carolina spent a considerable amount of their resources in free agency strengthening a unit that already has some explosive playmakers to call upon, which was further enhanced by some intriguing college recruits taken at various stages of the 2021 NFL Draft.

One such new face that will have plenty of responsibility on his shoulders is Denzel Perryman. The linebacker joined the Panthers after a successful spell with the Los Angeles Chargers, with his hard-hitting and ability in run support sure to make a big difference to an important area of the field that Carolina struggled for consistency in following the shock retirement of Luke Kuechly.

A recent article from Sam Monson from Pro Football Focus highlighted the potential where Perryman is concerned. The writer selected the most underrated player from every NFL team and listed the former second-round pick as the Panthers’ under-the-radar player worth keeping a close eye on.

"“If he were playing 10 years ago, Denzel Perryman would be a celebrated force at linebacker, but his downhill-thumping style is not what the modern game calls for most of the time. Perryman is coming off a career year with an overall PFF grade of 83.3, and he even saw his coverage improve after allowing a career-low 5.3 yards per reception.”"

Carolina Panthers are expecting big things from Denzel Perryman.

Monson does have a point in his comments regarding Perryman. His signing was given almost no media coverage nationally, which is fine. But that should not detract from an important piece of the puzzle he can become in Carolina providing the Miami product hits the ground running.

The Tahir Whitehead experiment was a dismal failure in 2020. Perryman has far more upside and this is the big starting opportunity he’s been waiting for.

Making the most out of it will be important, especially considering how much the Panthers will be relying on him at the second level. Jermaine Carter and Shaq Thompson are set to occupy the outside linebacker positions depending on where the Panthers use Haason Reddick, but both have proven they need a real force occupying the middle to get the best out of their performance.

It’s hard not to love the way Perryman goes about his business. He is athletic, aggressive, and gives absolutely everything to the cause on almost every down. This style of play has resulted in a couple of frustrating injuries throughout his career, so the Panthers will be hoping there are no further complications and their signing can strengthen a defense that made some encouraging strides over the second half of the campaign.

Perryman performing consistently is absolutely pivotal for the Panthers and their aspirations next season. The player is still just 28-years-old, so if he can prove his worth quickly and become a locker room leader in the process, Carolina may have found their long-term successor to Kuechly at the second time of asking.

Next. Predicting the Carolina Panthers 2021 season game by game. dark

He is underrated. But Perryman might not have that tag for much longer.