10 most important Panthers players to the team’s chances in 2021

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Christian McCaffrey /
3 of 6
Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Derrick Brown /

7. player. 87. . . . DERRICK BROWN

Derrick Brown – Carolina Panthers DT

The Carolina Panthers made the right call by taking Derrick Brown at No. 7 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft. His level of production steadily improved throughout his rookie campaign, leaving no doubt regarding his potential with additional development moving forward.

Brown generated some notable pressure last time around despite being one of the league’s most double-teamed defensive tackles. Considering the upgrade in weapons across the front seven, the former Auburn sensation might be set for a giant leap forward.

Providing Brown improves his ability to make a difference against the run, a potential Pro Bowl-caliber campaign is not entirely out of the question.

JERMAINE CARTER. 6. player. 87. . .

Jermaine Carter – Carolina Panthers LB

If somebody told you that Jermaine Carter would be among the top-10 most important Panthers players this time last year, it would have been a stretch. The linebacker didn’t get off the most hospitable of starts with head coach Matt Rhule, leaving him on the outside looking in until the second half of the campaign.

Carter made up for some lost time when he was finally installed into the lineup and looks set to occupy the inside linebacker role despite the Panthers acquiring Denzel Perryman from the Los Angeles Chargers in free agency.

This is the big chance he’s been waiting for. Carter needs to provide energy and hard-hitting consistency at the second level, especially in a contract year for the player.