Panthers depth chart focus: Special teams set to dominate?
J.J. Jansen & Thomas Fletcher – Carolina Panthers LS
“Are you coming or what?”
Who can forget the infamous line from the viral video in 2021 when Matt Rhule made the call to Thomas Fletcher to inform him the Carolina Panthers were drafting the Alabama long snapper in the sixth round.
While it was a nice feel-good story at the time, in hindsight it seemed a wasted pick. Especially with guard Trey Smith on the board, it’s likely that if Fletcher wasn’t placed on season-ending injured/reserve back in August he wouldn’t have been on the roster after losing the battle with J.J. Jansen.
The aforementioned Jansen is currently the longest-tenured Panther after he was traded to Carolina back in 2009 following an opening year with the Green Bay Packers.
Since then Jansen has been the long snapper, amassing an impressive 209 games and earning a Pro Bowl vote back in 2013.
It was somewhat of a surprise that the Panthers brought Jansen back on a one-year deal in February as most expected Fletcher to be the starter for the upcoming season. This indicates those in power aren’t quite sold on the 23-year-old they drafted just a year ago.
There will be some concern if Fletcher is unable to beat out Jansen for a second season in a row, casting further doubt on why the Panthers selected him in the first place.