Carolina Panthers training camp awards: 2021 edition

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) C.J. Saunders /

C.J. Saunders – Carolina Panthers WR

Brought in as a training camp body with absolutely no expectations, C.J. Saunders has been an absolute revelation over the last few weeks to give himself a fighting chance of earning a surprise roster spot.

The wide receiver endured some turmoil before arriving with the Carolina Panthers. However, Saunders has clearly looked to make his presence felt and make the most out of what may possibly be his final opportunity to carve a role for himself.

Carolina possesses an abundance of weapons in the passing game, which makes things even more difficult for a player like Saunders to make the team. Even if his name isn’t one of the 53, he can walk away with his head held high and might even get a chance on the practice squad.

Saunders also drew praise from general manager Scott Fitterer after one particular session. Something that probably indicates a discussion will be had regarding his future in the not-too-distant future.

He is also a valuable contributor on special teams and can return kicks if needed. This sort of versatility is clearly a trait loved by the Panthers and only strengthens his claims for a longer stay.

Considering how little was known about Saunders before he joined the team, his production makes the former Ohio State product the biggest surprise of camp this year.