5 Carolina Panthers players with lots at stake during preseason finale

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Ian Thomas
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Ian Thomas /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images) Christian Miller /

Christian Miller – Carolina Panthers DE/OLB

The Carolina Panthers have given Christian Miller plenty of reps over the first two preseason games. Something the player obviously needed following his decision to opt-out in 2020 amid COVID-19 fears.

This also presented the coaching staff with a larger indication of what they exactly have in Miller. Matt Rhule and company weren’t around when the Panthers spent a fifth-round pick on the Alabama product in 2019, so they’ll know far more about the player now than they did this time last year.

Miller has flashed in warmup games and throughout training camp.

Getting back up to speed hasn’t been a problem for the edge rusher. But how much – if at all – he’ll be involved with the first team will tell us more about what the coaches think of his performances so far this offseason.

Although it’s unlikely Miller will attain a prominent starting role on a loaded defensive front, the player is probably going to be a rotational piece that’s also expected to make his presence felt on special teams.

Expecting Miller to step in right away after such a long absence and show significant growth was unrealistic. But now that he’s formally found his feet, the standards expected will rise accordingly.