6 shining stars from the Carolina Panthers first preseason game

(Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports) P.J. Walker
(Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports) P.J. Walker /
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Carolina Panthers
(Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports) Tommy Tremble /

Who were the winners and losers from the Carolina Panthers’ first preseason game of the summer at the Indianapolis Colts?

The Carolina Panthers finally put an eventful offseason behind them when they took the field at Lucas Oil Stadium for their first preseason game ahead of the new campaign. Head coach Matt Rhule opted not to utilize his starters for the contest, but there was still a ton of talent on display who were all looking to stake a claim without the first-team unit taking away the attention.

It was a game full of positives for the Panthers during a game where the result wasn’t the most important takeaway. They looked well on course for a victory after a strong first-half performance, but those on the fringes were unable to live up to their end of the bargain and allowed the home team to kick a game-winning field goal with just seven seconds remaining.

That won’t bother Rhule too much. More noteworthy is individual production and team cohesion.

With this in mind, here are five shining stars who showed out for the Panthers at the Colts.

Shining Star No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Stantley Thomas-Oliver III /

Stantley Thomas-Oliver III – Carolina Panthers CB

The Colts targeted Stantley Thomas-Oliver III plenty during the game. But the second-year cornerback more than held his own in coverage.

This won’t have gone unnoticed by the coaching staff, who are looking for an additional option to step up as A.J. Bouye serves out his two-game suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy on the Denver Broncos in 2020.

Thomas-Oliver – who showed some flashes as a rookie last season – might just be the guy judging by this performance. But there is a lot of football to be played between now and when Carolina comes to a formal conclusion.