5 initial observations from Panthers unofficial 2021 depth chart

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Daviyon Nixon
(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Daviyon Nixon /
3 of 5
Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Jermaine Carter /

Jermaine Carter is in pole position for Carolina Panthers LB1

Many people rightfully thought that Denzel Perryman would be the man to fill the inside linebacker role following his free-agent arrival from the Los Angeles Chargers. However, it was evident from early on at training camp that the Carolina Panthers had other plans.

Jermaine Carter has been taking the majority of reps manning the second level. This has only grown of late as Perryman is currently out through injury with a timetable on his return not yet confirmed.

The former fifth-round pick performed well when he came in for the dismal Tahir Whitehead in 2020. Carter and Matt Rhule didn’t get off to the best of starts, but that is now a thing of the past and the player has demonstrated some impressive leadership skills throughout camp so far.

Carolina is not going to find another Luke Kuechly anytime soon. But at least from the outside looking in, the position is Carter’s to lose heading into the season and he has the right mindset to grasp this opportunity with both hands.

Perryman has endured some rough luck with injuries over his career. If healthy, he should still have a part to play within a positional group that isn’t blessed with much in the way of quality depth.

This might have to be on a rotational basis judging by what we’ve seen from Carter so far.