5 Panthers players who could get slapped with the bust label in 2021

(Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports) Donte Jackson
(Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports) Donte Jackson /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Donte Jackson /

Which Carolina Panthers players could get slapped with the dreaded draft bust label if things don’t improve during the 2021 season?

No team ever gets every single draft selection right. There are always some that end up becoming failures, but the Carolina Panthers deserve credit for getting most of their high-end selections right in recent years.

This hasn’t translated into any postseason success. The Panthers haven’t even had a winning record since 2017 and this has to change at the earliest opportunity to avoid even more murmurings of discontent from a fanbase that is growing weary of being an also-ran compared to others across the league.

For every Peyton Manning and Patrick Mahomes, there is a Ryan Leaf and a Mitchell Trubisky. That’s the way it goes sometimes, so the Panthers will be hoping their latest batch of college recruits – the first under new general manager Scott Fitterer – end up becoming cornerstones to future progress on and off the field.

However, here are five Panthers players who could be slapped with the dreaded bust level if they don’t come up with the goods in 2021.

Player No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports) Pat Elflein /

Pat Elflein – Carolina Panthers OL

  • 3rd round pick – 2017

This ship might have already sailed in all honesty. But if Pat Elflein cannot become a productive player for the Panthers in 2021, he can kiss his chances of becoming a consistent NFL starter goodbye.

Bringing the former third-round pick out of Ohio State on board in free agency was a strange move. Especially considering how much Elflein’s struggled with the Minnesota Vikings and New York Jets during his career.

What’s perhaps even more worrying is that Carolina is giving him starting reps at left guard. Not exactly a position of the field that has room for passengers considering the questions surrounding blindside protection.