Damien Wilson – Carolina Panthers LB
Damien Wilson is next up at middle linebacker after Jermaine Carter didn’t do enough for a new contract extension last season. Things have been difficult in the immediate aftermath of Luke Kuechly’s retirement over the last two years, so the sooner things stabilize for the Carolina Panthers in this area of the field, the better.
Wilson is coming off a 2021 season where he went over 100 tackles for the first time in his career. But a lowly 44.0 grade from Pro Football Focus is a testament to how inconsistent the former Minnesota stud was on occasions.
His production against the run remains solid and Wilson can also get after the quarterback when needed. However, there are some real deficiencies in coverage that need to be resolved before he becomes a true three-down force.
Wilson is now 29 years old and could be a little long in the tooth to pick up new tricks. So the jury is still well and truly out about his chances in Carolina and that’s without taking into account his offseason arrest that further complicates matters.
If this latest combination of Wilson, Cory Littleton, and rookie Brandon Smith doesn’t work out, then expect the Panthers to make securing a long-term option via the draft one of their biggest priorities next season.