5 Carolina Panthers players with big shoes to fill in 2021

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Jaycee Horn
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Jaycee Horn /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports) Jermaine Carter /

Jermaine Carter – Carolina Panthers OLB

  • Shoes to fill – Jeremy Chinn

It appears as if the Carolina Panthers are moving Jeremy Chinn back to his preferred position of safety after a sensational rookie campaign at the outside linebacker spot.

The former Southern Illinois star made the smoothest of transitions to the next level. In fact, Chinn’s impression was so great that he can count himself extremely unfortunate not to come away with NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year as a result of his efforts.

Although this is going to assist the secondary an untold amount, it does leave a gaping hole opposite Shaq Thompson at the second level. This task should fall on Jermaine Carter, who made a big impression when he finally got meaningful reps in 2020.

Carter and Matt Rhule got off to a difficult start, which cast his future with the franchise into doubt. His level of production when finally installed into the lineup was pleasing, so it would be a surprise if he didn’t get a starting job in Week 1 providing everything goes according to plan at training camp.

The former fifth-round pick is an elder statesman compared to Chinn. But matching what the do-it-all defender accomplished last season will be a difficult proposition.

Realistically speaking, Carter needs to simply focus on his own game and continue progressing. If he can do this in a satisfactory fashion, then it should come with a new contract next spring to keep him in Carolina.