3 Carolina Panthers positions that could be better than expected in 2022

(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Tommy Tremble
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports) Tommy Tremble /
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Carolina Panthers
(Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports) Shaq Thompson /

Carolina Panthers LBs

It’s been three offseasons since the great Luke Kuechly retired to preserve his long-term health. The Carolina Panthers have looked lost without the perennial All-Pro ever since and the departure of Haason Reddick in free agency means the second-level has more questions than answers heading into the campaign.

Many see this positional group as an area of weakness. However, there could be some light at the end of the tunnel given the current options within the linebacker room.

Shaq Thompson is now one of the team’s longest-serving players and should produce the goods despite missing camp following a minor knee procedure. There should also be additional playing time for Frankie Luvu, who shone on a rotational basis and as a special teamer throughout his first year in Carolina.

While the interior is less dependable on paper, perhaps a tandem of Cory Littleton and Damien Wilson can be serviceable enough to provide better consistency as rookie Brandon Smith brushes up his craft with a view to winning the position long term.

Expectations are relatively low for the linebacker unit. But they’ll need to make their presence felt with questions surrounding one or two on the defensive line before the campaign.

Thompson will lead and Luvu provides the energy. So it’s just a case of others meeting their respective targets.