5 Carolina Panthers backups who aren’t getting talked about enough

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) Sam Franklin
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) Sam Franklin /
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Carolina Panthers
(Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Franklin /

Sam Franklin – Carolina Panthers S

All the hype surrounding the safety position centers on Jeremy Chinn moving to the backend after starring as a rookie at outside linebacker. And rightfully so.

The Southern Illinois product took the NFL by storm last season with some dazzling and historic performances that made him among the steals of the draft at No. 64 overall.

Chinn needs to keep up this level of production in 2021 with more in the way of responsibility on his shoulders. Juston Burris must also live up to his end of the bargain if he earns the spot alongside the do-it-all defender.

If things don’t work out with Burris for whatever reason, don’t sleep on Sam Franklin.

The undrafted free agent was quickly snapped up by the Panthers once he failed to hear his name called during the 2020 NFL Draft. His familiarity with Carolina’s coaching staff from college served the defensive back well, smoothing his transition considerably and even resulting in 23 percent of the team’s defensive snaps in 2020.

There were some bumps in the road, which is to be expected. But his contribution is more than Carolina could have hoped and there might be even more to come providing Franklin makes the necessary adjustments this summer.