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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(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Franklin /

Sam Franklin – Carolina Panthers S

Phil Snow and Sam Franklin worked together in college at Temple. Something that played a big factor in the safety generating some meaningful reps in 2020 despite going undrafted.

Franklin has the size and athleticism to make a difference, albeit on a rotational role. Building him along gradually is probably the smart way to go next season, although the lack of depth behind Jeremy Chinn and Juston Burris could see the second-year-pro become more involved should the injury bug strike.

Expectations were relatively low for Franklin last season, which made his contribution more pleasing. He was on the field for 23 percent of the team’s defensive snaps and gave up an impressive 45.5 percent of catchable balls thrown his way on the backend.

Couple this with four starts, one sack, four passes defended, 23 tackles, one quarterback hit, and one tackle for loss, and there is a lot to like about Franklin’s potential for further growth.

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Snow might put a little more on Franklin during the preseason to see how far he’s come in recent months. If he passes the test with flying colors, expect to see the player become more involved in the rotation when competitive action begins.