Damien Wilson – Carolina Panthers LB
Damien Wilson was always going to be a gamble for the Carolina Panthers. Something that has become an infuriating trend at the middle linebacker spot in recent years.
I was excited when the team signed Wilson. A player that has always been a career backup, but had been earning increasing playing time over the past few seasons and even a full-time starting role with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2021.
There is obvious talent, a lateral quickness that can’t be taught, and instincts that can absolutely blow up plays on Wilson’s tape. This just never translated in Carolina.
Wilson was almost immediately supplanted by the likes of the budding Frankie Luvu and basically any other linebacker on the active roster at some point in the season. Only 18 percent of total defensive snaps included the journeyman linebacker.
Going from touted free agent steal to less than a rotational afterthought is nothing anyone ever wants to see. That’s exactly what happened to Wilson in 2022.
The most frustrating part is there is no one thing to point out that went wrong.
One could just say it was a bad year, but why was it so terrible? In no simple terms, Wilson just didn’t play well. there is no one thing to fix, no magic potion to make everything better.
The linebacker wasn’t good and yet again the Panthers find themselves looking for an answer in the middle of their defense.