5 Carolina Panthers players who cannot afford to regress in 2022

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Shaq Thompson
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Shaq Thompson /
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Carolina Panthers
(Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports) Chuba Hubbard /

RB. Carolina Panthers. CHUBA HUBBARD. 5. player. 87.

Chuba Hubbard – Carolina Panthers RB

Chuba Hubbard might be only entering his second season with the Carolina Panthers. But one could make an argument that the Oklahoma State product is already fighting for his future.

The 2021 fourth-round pick was thrust into a prominent role much sooner than anticipated last season when Christian McCaffrey suffered yet more injury complications. Hubbard accumulated 612 rushing yards and five touchdowns from 172 carries, but there are some major elements to his game that need work this offseason to carve out a similar role.

Hubbard’s ability to generate yards after contact was poor. His blocking in pass protection sets was also suspect and the running back’s contribution in the passing game was littered with errors.

The Panthers are hoping McCaffrey gets back to full health and avoids the reserve/injured list in 2022. Carolina also signed D’Onta Foreman in free agency, who could emerge as the short-yardage specialist and the All-Pro’s primary backup with a smooth integration.

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This has laid the gauntlet down to Hubbard in no uncertain terms. If flaws from his game aren’t eradicated, then the player could be reduced to a lowly depth chart role with limited action next season.