5 Carolina Panthers players with most to prove in 2022 training camp

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Sam Darnold /
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Carolina Panthers
(Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports) Darryl Johnson /

Darryl Johnson – Carolina Panthers DE

After letting Haason Reddick walk in free agency for the Philadelphia Eagles, the Carolina Panthers are counting on youth making a difference when it comes to generating pressure on opposing quarterbacks in 2022. Although the prospect of further reinforcements cannot be ruled out, it appears the coaching staff wants to give those already on the team a chance in training camp.

This opens a slight window of opportunity for Darryl Johnson. The defensive end was acquired for a sixth-round pick from the Buffalo Bills last summer but saw little in the way of meaningful action over his first year with the franchise.

Johnson was active three times and played just 20 snaps on defense. However, influential figures within the organization clearly feel like he can make substantial improvements with a full offseason within the setup.

Whether the North Carolina A&T product has what it takes to earn a prominent spot on the rotation is anyone’s guess. His athleticism and overall power could be of use, but Johnson also has plenty to prove in pursuit of gaining a roster spot once training camp comes to a conclusion.

Others such as Yetur Gross-Matos and Marquis Haynes are obviously preferred. One cannot dismiss Johnson entirely, but he must be lights out throughout camp to stand any chance.