Ranking the 10 best Panthers players from the first quarter of 2022

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Brian Burns
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Brian Burns /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Eakin Howard/Getty Images) Johnny Hekker /

. JOHNNY HEKKER. 9. player. 87. .

Johnny Hekker – Carolina Panthers P

For all the Carolina Panthers’ problems on offense, their defense still has some life thanks in no small part to the punting of Johnny Hekker. Any concerns regarding his supposed dip in form for the Los Angeles Rams during their memorable Super Bowl run have been quashed, with the player providing much-needed stability at an important time.

Judging by how Carolina’s offense has fared of late, Hekker’s role will remain important. But with so many questions elsewhere, the Panthers can relax safe in the knowledge they have a dependable kicking duo to rely upon.

Hopefully, for Hekker and the Panthers, this is a trend that continues long into the future.

player. 87. . . . PAT ELFLEIN. 8

Pat Elflein – Carolina Panthers C

Who saw this coming?

After a disastrous first season with the Carolina Panthers, there was derision within the team’s fanbase when Matt Rhule announced Pat Elflein as the Week 1 starter at center. These groans of discontent grew due to the presence of free-agent signing Bradley Bozeman sitting on the sidelines waiting for a chance.

If this was the last chance saloon for Elflein, he’s risen to the challenge. Outside of some snapping issues in Week 1, the Ohio State product has been assured on running downs, communicated well, and excelled in pass protection for good measure.

Elflein is not back in everyone’s good graces just yet. But in all honesty, he couldn’t have done much more to turn things around.