4 Carolina Panthers players who deserve more credit in 2022
By Dean Jones
Marquis Haynes – Carolina Panthers DE
When the Carolina Panthers allowed Haason Reddick to walk in free agency, it was seen as a vote of confidence in Yetur Gross-Matos to step up and become the force those in power hoped for when they selected him at No. 38 overall in 2020. Unfortunately, the former Penn State star has failed to meet even modest expectations through ten games.
Gross-Matos is finding life difficult generating pressure of making his presence felt against the run. On the flip side, Marquis Haynes continues to show promise as a core rotational piece and his two-sack contribution late against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 10 could tip the scales in the player’s favor regarding more reps moving forward.
The Ole Miss product has featured in 40 percent of the team’s defensive snaps this season and outperformed Gross-Matos. It’s not perfect – especially when it comes to setting the edge against the run – but his production at least justifies interim head coach Steve Wilks throwing him into a prominent starting role opposite Brian Burns.
If this scenario does come to fruition and Haynes thrives, it might see Carolina’s strategy change in 2023. Although it’s highly likely that acquiring another pass-rusher will be among their top priorities in free agency or the draft.
Haynes might not hold up, which is fine. But he’s deserving of the opportunity to find out one way or another.