4 Carolina Panthers players coming of age under Steve Wilks in 2022

(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) D'Onta Foreman
(Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) D'Onta Foreman /
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Carolina Panthers
(Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports) D’Onta Foreman /

D’Onta Foreman – Carolina Panthers RB

When the Carolina Panthers traded Christian McCaffrey to the San Francisco 49ers before the deadline, most analysts thought the organization was throwing up the white flag for 2022 and focusing their attention on life beyond the current campaign. Something that never entered Steve Wilks’ mindset despite how the cards were dealt.

Wilks has established an identity on offense that Matt Rhule couldn’t accomplish in three years. This starts by winning in the trenches and leaning heavily on a power-running attack that’s been a breath of fresh air under his leadership.

One of the biggest reasons for this is the rise to prominence of D’Onta Foreman. The former Texas standout was on the fringes with Rhule at the helm, with the departed coach opting to ride McCaffrey into oblivion in the hope of saving his job.

Now that Foreman’s emerged from the shadows, he is thriving. Since taking over the lead-back role, 637 rushing yards and four touchdowns from 147 carries have followed, which represents outstanding production considering there have been one or two occasions when the Panthers got themselves in a big-time hole early.

Foreman’s gone from an afterthought to potentially getting a new deal from Carolina to prevent him from leaving in free agency. A turn of events that’s bringing plenty of plaudits for the player and his inspiring head coach.