Who will the Carolina Panthers use to replace Juston Burris?

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Juston Burris
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Juston Burris /

Who will the Carolina Panthers rely on to replicate the production of Juston Burris after the safety pulled his groin in Week 3?

Considering the Carolina Panthers lost both Christian McCaffrey and Jaycee Horn to injury at the Houston Texans, the news regarding Juston Burris‘ problem has gone relatively overlooked. The safety is set for a spell on the sidelines after pulling his groin in the Week 3 triumph, which is a real disappointment given how well the veteran started the campaign.

As is always the case in these types of situations, it’s a case of “next man up” for the Panthers as they look to continue their outstanding start at the Dallas Cowboys in Week 4.

That might just be Sam Franklin.

With Myles Hartsfield also unavailable, the former undrafted free agent out of Temple could slot in alongside Jeremy Chinn on the backend until Burris is ready to return. Matt Rhule didn’t rule out an injured/reserve designation for the player, so this could be an extended audition for Franklin in pursuit of being a long-term starting option moving forward.

Franklin came in for Burris on Thursday for parts and did well. He’s not afraid of the big occasion and fitted in seamlessly with the Panthers after arriving immediately following the 2020 NFL Draft.

The defensive back has caught the eye during his time on the field this season. One only has to look at his exceptional 89.1 grade from Pro Football Focus to see that.

Carolina Panthers could also utilize Sean Chandler to replace Juston Burris.

Whether the Panthers go with Franklin over someone like Sean Chandler is up for debate. The free-agent signing has made a substantial impression in a short space of time, so he might be tasked with the role with more in the way of experience under his belt.

Carolina’s secondary made some real noise over the first three weeks. Keeping this up without the services of Horn and Burris is the next big challenge.

The Panthers reached out to veteran cornerback Richard Sherman just before acquiring C.J. Henderson in a trade. But there appears no real desire to strengthen the safety spot despite Burris getting hurt.

That could be the strongest indicator of their confidence in either Franklin or Chandler filling the void. Having someone like Chinn as a partner is only going to help, too.

Injuries are all part of the business, unfortunately. It just so happens the Panthers got a treble blow all at the same time.

This is going to be a stern test of both the team’s depth and their resolve as a unit. The Cowboys will give Phil Snow’s unit all they can handle in Week 4, so it’s something they have to be ready for in pursuit of keeping their unbeaten run going.

Any slight regression against this sort of passing attack could be costly. Thankfully for the Panthers, they still boast an elite defensive front that’s been wreaking havoc on opposing protection schemes over the first three contests.

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If this trend continues and quarterback Sam Darnold takes up the mantle in McCaffrey’s absence, the Panthers should remain competitive, at the very least. It appears as if Franklin and Chandler will have a bigger part to play in the coming weeks, which is something to monitor closely without Burris in the lineup.