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
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Brian Burns /

87. . . . BRIAN BURNS. 3. player

Brian Burns – Carolina Panthers DE

There was an enormous amount of pressure on Brian Burns heading into the 2022 season. The Carolina Panthers opted not to bring back Haason Reddick despite the edge rusher gaining 11 sacks in 2021, leaving opposing defenses free to focus their attention more prominently on the Florida State product.

Thankfully, Burns has risen to the occasion. His ability to wreak havoc in backfields remains steady in the face of additional chips and double teams, with the player also improving gap discipline against the run, which was a big question mark heading into the campaign.

This is very promising from Burns. If the sack numbers reflect his performance levels as the campaign goes on, then expect the pass-rusher to be a very rich man next spring.

87. . . . DERRICK BROWN. 2. player

Derrick Brown – Carolina Panthers DT

Much like the rest of Carolina’s roster, the campaign did not begin well for Derrick Brown against the Cleveland Browns. Since that, however, the defensive tackle has been a commanding force and proving the Panthers right for drafting him at No. 7 overall in 2020.

Brown’s best work doesn’t necessarily fill up the stat sheet. But he is consistently moving the line of scrimmage and making things easier for the likes of Matt Ioannidis and Burns around him.

Any questions that surrounded Brown prior to the season have now vanished. And picking up the former Auburn standout’s fifth-year option seems like a no-brainer right now.