5 Carolina Panthers players on the hot seat heading into 2021 season

(Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) Cam Erving
(Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) Cam Erving /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold and Matt Rhule /

Which Carolina Panthers players are firmly on the hot seat as the team gets set to embark on the 2021 season?

It won’t be much longer before we find out what the Carolina Panthers are truly capable of this season. We are now just one day away from their first taste of competitive action against the New York Jets, which ends another rollercoaster offseason with plenty of comings, goings, and bold moves along the way.

The Panthers need to get themselves off to a good start. There is more in the way of expectations on this talented young group of players, who’ll be led by a coaching staff that has no more excuses following a steep learning curve in 2020.

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Some positional groups on the roster are more stable than others. Unless these concerns are alleviated early in the campaign, it could lead to an aggressive front office going bold once again in pursuit of improvements.

With this in mind, here are five Panthers players on the hot seat heading into a 2021 season that could go either way.

Player No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Pat Elflein /

Pat Elflein – Carolina Panthers OG

Considering how poor Pat Elflein’s production has been over the last two seasons, it’s evident that much more is needed to make a better go of things in Carolina. The free-agent signing does have the versatility to play anywhere on the offensive line interior, but that ultimately counts for nothing if the consistency isn’t there.

The Panthers appear willing to give Elflein a shot at holding down a starting gig this season and possibly beyond. Whether he can capitalize on what’s undeniably his final opportunity to change people’s perceptions is another matter.

Elflein is firmly on the hot seat, with the likes of Dennis Daley, Brady Christensen, and Deonte Brown waiting in the wings if things don’t open promisingly.