6 Panthers players who need to hit the ground running at 2021 camp

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Shaq Thompson
(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Shaq Thompson /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Shaq Thompson /

Shaq Thompson – Carolina Panthers OLB

Shaq Thompson was probably nervously awaiting his fate with the Carolina Panthers this offseason after a disappointing 2020 overall.

The former first-round pick did go over 100 tackles for the second straight year. But his production wasn’t up to the required standard and especially considering the Washington product’s high hopes of becoming a true leader on defense following the shock retirement of Luke Kuechly.

Thompson needs a solid presence alongside him on the interior. That isn’t up for debate anymore after what we saw last time out.

The Panthers opted to restructure his deal rather than cut ties entirely despite the bumper pay rise coming Thompson’s way. So this ensures he’ll be around for the next two seasons at least.

However, the outside linebacker would be wise not to get complacent.

Thompson has to prove himself all over again in 2021 and now the Panthers acquired Denzel Perryman from the Los Angeles Chargers in free agency to man the interior, there won’t be any more excuses providing the recent acquisition suffers no more problems through injury.

Nobody will be more aware of this than Thompson.

This isn’t his first rodeo and he is one of the few remaining players from Carolina’s memorable 2015 Super Bowl appearance. But another campaign of inconsistencies could see the Panthers look in a different direction next spring.