3 things fans want to see from the Carolina Panthers in 2021

De White
(Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold
(Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /
3 of 4
Carolina Panthers
(Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports) Brian Burns /

Defensive playmakers

As the Carolina Panthers’ defense progressed through the year, most of its players began to find some form of success. Whether it was solid production in numbers or just by simply finding their groove in the first year of a new system, most individuals showed promise by the end of the campaign.

The team would total 29 sacks, seven interceptions, 14 forced fumbles, two defensive touchdowns, 55 tackles for loss, and 89 quarterback hits. Aside from Tahir Whitehead, most had a decent chance of returning to the team, but not as presumptive starters.

Though the defense did improve throughout the year, there were still glaring holes at almost every other position.

Juston Burris played decent before his rib injury but Tre Boston had a down year. Donte Jackson and Rasul Douglas had spurts through 2020, but wouldn’t be enough to constantly stop veteran and skilled receivers.

Shaq Thomson was inconsistent but nothing compared Whitehead, who was a defensive liability on almost every defensive stretch.

Brian Burns was a menace on the defensive end, but Stephen Weatherly was disappointing and Yetur Gross-Matos couldn’t stay healthy enough to build on his talent and potential.

Derrick Brown was a strong inside presence but was constantly double-teamed due to a subpar running mate and an injured Kawann Short. So it’s safe to say, the Panthers needed improvement across the board for the upcoming year.

And as fans asked, they received.

The Panthers followed a disappointing season with an offseason second to none other than J. Cole. After ousting Marty Hurney, Scott Fitterer was hired and instantly went to work.

In a transition that this team hasn’t seen in years – if ever – Fitterer and the Panthers signed and drafted players in virtually every position of need.

And fans were impressed.

Here is a list of incoming players expected to make an immediate difference on defense.

  • Haasan Reddick – DE/OLB
  • A.J. Bouye – CB
  • Denzel Perryman – LB
  • Jaycee Horn – CB
  • DaQuan Jones – DT
  • Daviyon Nixon – DT
  • Morgan Fox – DT/DE
  • Keith Taylor Jr. – CB
  • Rashaan Melvin – CB

Though the safety position was left virtually unchanged since the release of Boston, every other skills team was improved by rookies or savvy veterans. And with combined stats of 21.5 sacks, two interceptions, nine forced fumbles, 31 tackles for loss, and 33 quarterback hits, the incoming players have an expectation to be average to great additions.