Which Carolina Panthers players got extremely lucky during an outstanding off-season period for the franchise heading into the 2023 campaign?
With the Carolina Panthers progressing preparations for the 2023 campaign at their upcoming mandatory minicamp next week, fans have been examining how the complete shift in dynamic across the franchise is transitioning onto the field. It's been a case of so far, so good for most players, who are benefitting greatly from Frank Reich's presence and a coaching staff littered with legitimate credentials at the highest level.
One cannot put into words how things have altered from top to bottom across the Panthers in recent months. The infrastructure is improved, there is an actual plan for sustained success in place, and Carolina also has a potential franchise quarterback in Bryce Young who could become a star quickly.
The Panthers left no stone unturned in pursuit of improvements on and off the gridiron. While it might not come right away, the nucleus is there to enter the NFC South title picture with the division wide open in the wake of Tom Brady's retirement.
And for these three Panthers players, the 2023 offseason was an extremely fortunate one.
C.J. Henderson - Carolina Panthers CB
Despite serious questions surrounding the group this offseason, the Carolina Panthers needed to strengthen their cornerback room with more urgency. Even when Jaycee Horn went down with an injury that's expected to keep him out until training camp, those in power opted to pick up a defensive tackle and running back off waivers, instead.
This is a gamble that could majorly backfire. However, it was a big confidence boost for C.J. Henderson heading into the last year of his rookie deal.
Henderson didn't get his fifth-year option picked up as expected and any further regression would leave his future prospects in tatters. But there does appear to be an unlikely opportunity for starting reps once again with Donte Jackson still working his way back from a torn Achilles.
Ejiro Evero has a job on his hands with Henderson, who might never live up to his pre-draft billing. The bar isn't exactly high in terms of improvement, but this is a last-chance saloon scenario in no uncertain terms.