5 Panthers role players who will thrive on Phil Snow’s defense in 2021

(Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports) Marquis Haynes
(Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports) Marquis Haynes /
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Carolina Panthers
(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Phil Snow /

Which Carolina Panthers role players on defense could thrive in 2021 under coordinator Phil Snow?

If the Carolina Panthers can build on a promising end to the campaign from a defensive standpoint, it could propel this unit into one of the NFL’s best in 2021. Coordinator Phil Snow took time to stop his authority and scheme across a new-look group of players, which resulted in some early struggles before ending the campaign on a high note.

Snow made some mistakes, which was to be expected with no previous play-calling experience at the next level. With a more structured offseason period to prepare and some notable additions brought in for good measure, much more is expected of the Panthers in this important area of the field.

The top performers all need to perform equal to or above what’s expected. But what separates the good defenses from the great is which backups also make telling contributions when things get tough throughout the season.

With this in mind, here are five Panthers role players on defense who should thrive under Snow in 2021.

Player No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Christian Miller /

Christian Miller – Carolina Panthers OLB

There is a cautious sense of optimism surrounding what Christian Miller could bring to the Panthers next season. The former Alabama star opted out of the 2020 campaign due to COVID-19 health concerns, which means he’s back to square one with a coaching staff that wasn’t around when the outside linebacker was drafted by Carolina.

Miller showed flashes of a productive player during his rookie year. There also doesn’t appear to be much in the way of depth at the second level which could also work in his favor with a strong camp.

Providing Miller has been working hard on his game away from the team and hits the ground running at training camp, there is nothing to suggest he cannot thrive in Phil Snow’s scheme from a key rotational role.