5 unsung heroes from the Carolina Panthers second preseason game

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Brady Christensen
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Brady Christensen /
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Carolina Panthers
(Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Franklin /

Sam Franklin – Carolina Panthers S

Matt Rhule has brought plenty of his former college players to the Carolina Panthers since taking over from Ron Rivera. These decisions came with mixed success overall, but the team has a real diamond in Sam Franklin.

The safety emerged from an undrafted free agent to a first-team contributor in 2020. Franklin didn’t look overawed at any stage and although there were some expected growing pains, his production became far greater than anything Carolina probably anticipated.

Franklin appears to be growing in confidence with every passing game.

Last season’s experience has served him well and the Panthers have given Franklin plenty of reps with the starting unit throughout training camp.

The former Temple star was on the field for 48 percent of Carolina’s defensive snaps against the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday night at Bank of America Stadium. Franklin looked assured manning the backend, finishing with four tackles, one pass defended, and even a quarterback hit.

Getting Franklin involved with the firsts in the final preseason outing before the campaign is essential. The Panthers aren’t blessed with the greatest depth at safety behind projected starting duo Jeremy Chinn and Juston Burris, so if the second-year-pro can make further strides it’s going to assist an untold amount in 2021.