Panthers balance sheet: Strong offseason leaves defense in the black

Dean Jones
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Jaycee Horn
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Jaycee Horn /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Donte Jackson and Juston Burris /

How are the Carolina Panthers shaping up on the defensive side of the football after an eventful offseason of player recruitment?

Although much of the focus has been on the new quarterback, the Carolina Panthers have made some outstanding additions to their defense both during free agency and the 2021 NFL Draft. This was a unit that made some encouraging strides as the 2020 season wore on, so there are plenty of reasons to get excited about the options available heading into Year 2 of Matt Rhule’s tenure as head coach.

At least from the outside looking in, there appears to be the right blend of youth and experience across the defense, which simply wasn’t the case last time out.

The Panthers were perhaps a little overreliant on inexperienced players and veterans who clearly weren’t up to the required standard in 2020. Injuries to some key men also hampered them considerably during the campaign.

With a more structured offseason program to prepare for the significant challenges that lie ahead, Carolina will be counting on their defense to come through in critical moments and alleviate some of the pressure that’s obviously going to be on Sam Darnold.

If they can do this, then there is a big chance this team can really stake a claim for a surprise postseason spot providing they get off to a strong start.

Without further ado, we took a look at the Panthers’ balance sheet on defense to see how things might pan out in 2021.