Thomas Davis – Former Carolina Panthers LB
After being spoiled with supreme linebacker play for so long, fans have had to endure some torrid times of late since Matt Rhule took charge. One of the primary factors for this is the lack of leadership and consistency across the second level, although Shaq Thompson seems to be evolving positively ahead of a crucial third season for the head coach.
One of the biggest impact players to ever man the position was Thomas Davis. A man that overcame some significant knee injuries to become one of the team’s greatest ever players.
There was nothing Davis couldn’t do on the field. He was relentless against the run, generated pressure in opposing backfields when required, and was a true leader of men for good measure.
Ron Rivera knew exactly how to get the best out of Davis once he returned to full health in 2012. The Georgia product went over 100 tackles in his first five seasons under the coach, earning Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors in addition to a well-deserved NFC Championship along the way.
Davis’ powers waned slightly in 2017 and 2018 before the Panthers let him leave in free agency. If the linebacker was part of this team during his prime years, then his exceptional production and expert leadership would make a significant difference.