5 USFL standouts the Carolina Panthers should bring in for 2022 camp

(Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports) Kyle Sloter
(Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports) Kyle Sloter /
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Carolina Panthers
(Mary Holt-USA TODAY Sports) DeMarquis Gates /

Carolina Panthers could sign DeMarquis Gates

Luke Kuechly’s presence on and off the field remains sorely missed by the Carolina Panthers. It’s been a thankless task for those in power attempting to fill the void and the second level remains an area of real concern despite the potential of outside tandem Shaq Thompson and Frankie Luvu in 2022.

Whether or not Damien Wilson, Cory Littleton, and Brandon Smith can increase production next time around is debatable. All three have their flaws, but the prospect of further reinforcements in this area cannot be ruled out with plenty of spare financial resources for Carolina to utilize.

If the Panthers opted to explore the USFL for someone that could make an impact, then DeMarquis Gates would be high on the shortlist. The athletic figure posted an impressive 62 tackles and a league-leading 11 tackles for loss and has the traits Carolina normally looks for in their new defensive recruits.

After a productive college career at Ole Miss that resulted in 282 tackles, 17.5 tackles for loss, and six sacks over four years, Gates went undrafted in 2018 and has yet to see the NFL field in a competitive setting. Something that might change if a team was impressed enough with his recent contributions.

Gates is a hard hitter that has nice enough instincts to decipher things pre-snap. But whether his production is enough for Carolina or someone else to take him on board is the big question.