4 Carolina Panthers that far exceeded expectations in 2022

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) D'Onta Foreman
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) D'Onta Foreman /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Frankie Luvu /

Frankie Luvu – Carolina Panthers OLB

When the Carolina Panthers originally signed Frankie Luvu in 2021 free agency, he was seen as a depth chart piece and special teams contributor. Fast forward two seasons and the outside linebacker is an integral part of the team’s future plans on defense.

Luvu got a well-deserved promotion into the starting lineup after Haason Reddick’s departure. This was an opportunity the former Washington State standout did not waste en route to a phenomenal 2022 campaign.

Simply put, Luvu was the heart and soul of Carolina’s defense. His ability to make plays in all phases with a vibrant ferocity increased his standing among the fans, who immediately took to him thanks to his tireless work ethic and remarkable consistency.

Even though Luvu missed a couple of games through injury, he still put up career numbers across the board. His emergence as a leader within the locker room is another overlooked part of his influence that shouldn’t be overlooked.

In 15 games – 14 of which he started – Luvu attained 111 tackles, seven sacks, 19 tackles for loss, nine quarterback hits, 13 pressures, one interception, and a defensive touchdown. This took his game to completely new heights after being written off during his time with the New York Jets.

Luvu has one year remaining on his deal, so the Panthers could extend him this offseason before the price goes up further.