5 pleasant surprises from the Carolina Panthers 2022 season

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Derrick Brown
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Derrick Brown /
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Which Carolina Panthers players emerged as pleasant surprises during another rocky 2022 campaign?

The 2022 season was another turbulent one for the Carolina Panthers. A campaign that saw much change on and off the field.

A changing of the guard from Matt Rhule to Steve Wilks, in addition to starting spots opening up throughout the past year. This allowed players to take advantage of opportunities given to them in a more professional atmosphere.

There are also a few whose level of play shockingly jumped to a higher level. Another element that made firing Rhule absolutely essential despite the obvious complications that might have emerged.

Who are the five players that surprised Panthers fans with their play this season?

Player No. 1

Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Marquis Haynes /

Marquis Haynes Sr. – Carolina Panthers DE

  • 29 tackles
  • 13 QB hits
  • 5 sacks
  • 1 defensive touchdown

Marquis Haynes Sr. received more opportunities to play in 2022 after the Carolina Panthers lost Haason Reddick. The former Ole Miss player took advantage and played well.

Haynes contributed five sacks, which ranked third on the Panthers. All of them came after Steve Wilks stepped in as the interim head coach.

Combined with his 13 quarterback hits, Haynes provided solid pressure off the edge. Especially when considering he took 40 percent of the defensive snaps this season.

Bringing in a fresh pass-rusher like Haynes for sack opportunities is an asset for any defense. He may never be an elite option, but his impactful play was a nice surprise after struggling to stay in the rotation during his first few NFL seasons.

Haynes will likely occupy the same role again in 2023. With continued development combined with his athletic ability, he should be able to produce another solid campaign.