From Christian McCaffrey to the rest, a look at the Panthers RBs in 2021
The rest of the running backs fighting for places on the Carolina Panthers this offseason.
The running backs likely fighting for the final few spots behind Christian McCaffrey and Chuba Hubbard on the Carolina Panthers roster will be Reggie Bonnafon, Rodney Smith, and Trenton Cannon.
All three played a role in Carolina’s offense last season thanks to McCaffrey’s injuries but neither really showed true consistency.
Bonnafon is entering his third season with the Panthers and the potential is definitely there. Just check out this 59-yard touchdown run against the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2019.
However, time is running out.
Bonnafon looked like he could be RB2 for Carolina when McCaffrey went down but suffered an ankle injury that caused him to miss the rest of the season.
When healthy, Bonnafon brings a skill set very similar to McCaffrey and Chuba Hubbard with an athletic ability to catch out of the backfield. The question will be whether the Panthers really want to keep three backs on the roster with such similarities.
That would leave Smith and Cannon.
Cannon played in 14 games last season but isn’t a back that can handle a big workload. He would probably only make the roster for his ability on special teams thanks to his speed and return game.
Smith, who was undrafted out of Minnesota last year, played in seven games with one start but didn’t show anything that pops off the tape. He averaged 3.8 yards-per-carry and scored one touchdown. He has the ability to catch short balls but is still very raw.
If there were any back in this group to beat out Hubbard as the backup, it would likely be Bonnafon. But then again, anything can happen in training camp.