4 position battles to watch during Panthers OTAs in 2021

Dean Jones
(Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports) DaQuan Jones
(Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports) DaQuan Jones /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Derrick Brown /

Carolina Panthers DTs

It’s clear the Carolina Panthers have a potential stud on their hands in Derrick Brown. The No. 7 overall selection showed a tremendous amount of promise during his rookie campaign despite being one of the most double-teamed players at the position and there could be plenty more to come from the Auburn product with more help in 2021.

Carolina released both Kawann Short and Zach Kerr ahead of time, which was a necessary evil in the current climate. The Panthers brought in some capable replacements via free agency and the draft, so this offseason will be about finding the right balance to propel Brown and the defensive front to even better things next time around.

DaQuan Jones should sure up the run defense, which was inconsistent last season. Morgan Fox has proven to thrive from the three-technique with a strong figure alongside him that might offset the departure of Efe Obada to the Buffalo Bills, with much more expected from Bravvion Roy after some notable highlights in Year 1 of his professional career.

The Panthers picked up a potential steal by taking Daviyon Nixon in the fifth round. There are some character concerns that need to be alleviated. But a steep fall in the draft may have humbled him enough to stay on the right track.

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Mike Panasiuk and seventh-rounder Phil Hoskins come into OTAs as development projects. However, players such as this can surge up the depth chart with a strong showing during team drills.