6 defensive players on the roster bubble ahead of Panthers 2021 camp

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) Sean Chandler
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) Sean Chandler /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Austin Larkin /

Austin Larkin – Carolina Panthers DE

The Carolina Panthers look far stronger on their defensive front heading into training camp. Especially considering the strides stud duo Brian Burns and Derrick Brown are projected to make with the benefit of a more structured offseason.

Much is also expected of Haason Reddick, Morgan Fox, and DaQuan Jones. Three veteran players who enjoyed some eye-catching success on different teams in 2020.

Couple this with the intriguing arrival of fifth-round pick Daviyon Nixon and the expected growth of Yetur Gross-Matos, and the sky is the limit for this unit.

Just what that means for Austin Larkin is unclear. The player featured nine times for the Panthers in 2020 with limited success, but the size of the task awaiting him at training camp is a steep one.

If Larkin can make the roster, it would be a substantial achievement considering the depth now available to the Panthers. Carolina’s coaching staff thought enough of the Purdue product to keep him around this summer, with scheme familiarity something else he might be able to use to his advantage.

A place on the practice squad could be a more realistic aim for Larkin. Not the worst situation to be in by any stretch of the imagination.

Besides, the player has already proven he can integrate himself onto the roster at a moment’s notice. So cutting Larkin loose entirely might not be something the Panthers are considering.