4 Panthers position groups that still need improving before 2022 season

(Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold
(Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Yetur Gross-Matos /

Carolina Panthers could strengthen DE spot

Letting Haason Reddick walk in free agency was a major gamble by the Carolina Panthers. If the likes of Yetur Gross-Matos and Marquis Haynes don’t step up their respective contributions, it will be a real problem during a critical campaign for the franchise in 2022.

Gross-Matos looks poised for a big third season after flashing over his first two years in a professional environment. He is an emerging presence against the run and has proven capable of generating pressure when needed, so there could be a breakout campaign in the offing with additional responsibilities on his shoulders.

There is also optimism surrounding Haynes, who got a deserved extension from the Panthers this offseason after shining with limited reps. More involvement is almost guaranteed next time around, so it’s vital he makes the most out of the chances that come his way.

Brian Burns is the focal point, obviously. But if nobody else reaches expectations it will allow opposing offensive lines to key in on the former Florida State stud without fear of getting hurt elsewhere in a pass-rushing capacity.

Looking at the relative lack of depth behind this trio, it might be worth Carolina acquiring another veteran presence at some stage. This will help their cause and give the Panthers a better contingency plan if all else fails.