5 former Panthers from the Ron Rivera era that could help in 2022

(Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports) Ron Rivera
(Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports) Ron Rivera /
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There were plenty of formidable players to emerge from the Ron Rivera era, but which ones in their prime could help the Carolina Panthers in 2022? 

The new regime is now entering its third season following David Tepper’s decision to fire Ron Rivera in 2019. Although a fresh approach was undoubtedly needed, it remains to be seen whether the billionaire made the right call bringing Matt Rhule to the Carolina Panthers after two five-win campaigns to date.

Rivera was a successful coach in Carolina, almost bringing a first-ever Super Bowl triumph in 2015 and winning over fans with a no-nonsense approach that brought the best out of his players. Things became stagnant thanks in no small part to Cam Newton’s injury struggles, but his place in franchise history is more than secure.

Whether Rhule can accomplish similar feats is uncertain. But one thing’s for sure – we’ll find out much more about what the former Baylor man is made of during the 2022 campaign.

With that being said, we picked out five former Panthers from the Rivera era who’d help Rhule exceed expectations in their prime.

Former Player No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports) Charles Johnson /

Charles Johnson – Former Carolina Panthers DE

After letting Haason Reddick leave in free agency and releasing Morgan Fox, the Carolina Panthers find themselves short of pass-rushing options. Something that would make Charles Johnson an incredible asset to call upon in this hypothetical scenario.

Johnson played some of his best football under Ron Rivera during the early part of his tenure. Things tailed off slightly due to injury and age, but the Georgia product’s career in Carolina will always be remembered with great fondness.

Putting a prime Johnson opposite Brian Burns on the defensive front would be a nightmare for opposing protection schemes. Hopefully, the likes of Yetur Gross-Matos and Marquis Haynes can raise their games accordingly instead.