4 second-year Carolina Panthers players with most at stake in 2022

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /
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Which second-year Carolina Panthers players head into the 2022 season with plenty on the line?

The stakes could not be much higher for the Carolina Panthers in 2022. Just 10 combined wins over the first two seasons for head coach Matt Rhule has many wondering whether he is the right man for the job, but there are some positive signs emanating from the organization at long last that can hopefully turn into something more.

Carolina’s coaching staff has received a revamp and some useful names arrived in free agency and the 2022 NFL Draft. The Panthers need much more, obviously, but this is a solid foundation from which to build.

There is also a real need for those already on the Panthers to make bigger splashes now they are fully integrated into the organization. And make no mistake, there are some who are fighting for their respective futures to further turn up the heat.

Whether it’s trade acquisitions, free-agent signings, or draft picks, which second-year Panthers players have the most at stake in 2022?

Carolina Panthers player No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports) CJ Henderson /

CJ HENDERSON. 1. player. 87. . CB. Carolina Panthers

CJ Henderson – Carolina Panthers CB

After taking his time to bed into the Carolina Panthers following his trade from the Jacksonville Jaguars, there will be no excuses for CJ Henderson this time around. The former first-round pick has to start meeting respectable targets and realizing the potential that saw his previous employers select him No. 9 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Henderson has all the size and athleticism to play a big role alongside Jaycee Horn and Donte Jackson on the cornerback rotation. But with a decision regarding his fifth-year option after the campaign to consider, the Florida product has to leave no doubt about his credentials.

Having returning coach Steve Wilks to lean on will help enormously. Something that Henderson has to make the most of to increase his influence in 2022.