4 emerging draft busts on the Carolina Panthers in 2022

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Tommy Tremble
(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Tommy Tremble /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Yetur Gross-Matos /

Yetur Gross-Matos – Carolina Panthers DE

When the Carolina Panthers opted to let Haason Reddick take his chances elsewhere in free agency, it was the clearest sign yet of their supreme confidence in Yetur Gross-Matos. The defensive end got a significant upturn in responsibilities in 2022 after flashing from a rotational role last time around, with many projecting the defensive end to break out opposite Brian Burns this season.

Unfortunately for Gross-Matos and the Panthers, this hasn’t gone according to plan. The former Penn State standout’s inability to generate consistent pressure has been a constant source of frustration, with his first sack of the campaign not arriving until Week 11 at the Baltimore Ravens.

Considering the Panthers selected Gross-Matos at No. 38 overall in the 2020 NFL Draft, this is a body blow. They anticipated the edge defender becoming a core part of the team’s long-term plans, but there’s something missing and it wouldn’t be a shock to see Carolina address their pass rush as a matter of urgency next spring.

Gross-Matos is out of contract in 2024 and is unlikely to get an extension before then based on his performance levels this season. All hope is not entirely lost, but the second-rounder could see himself back as a depth chart piece rather than starting depending on what moves Carolina makes in free agency or the draft.

This is immensely disappointing for all concerned. And the road back for Gross-Matos is going to be the toughest challenge of his professional career by a considerable margin.