3 Carolina Panthers players that could surprise at training camp in 2023

- The new DL arrival

- The gadget weapon

- The intriguing rookie

DeShawn Williams
DeShawn Williams / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
3 of 3

D.J. Johnson - Carolina Panthers OLB

Much has been made about the Carolina Panthers needing to acquire another edge rushing weapon to place alongside Brian Burns next season. Especially considering the lack of consistency last time around and shifting to Ejiro Evero's 3-4 base scheme might not suit everybody.

Even though it seems like a pressing priority within a positional group of immense importance, Carolina has approached it with very little urgency throughout the offseason. Only one notable addition came into the fold, with the Panthers trading up in the third round for D.J. Johnson out of Oregon.

Johnson was a strange selection to many who had him ranked much lower. Based on the footage that emerged from Carolina's war room, it's a prospect that was highly regarded by Evero and other influential figures.

The six-year college player is still learning the position after transitioning from a tight end. However, Johnson is in extremely capable hands with the Panthers' exceptional coaching staff, so the chance for rapid progress cannot be dismissed entirely.

There are numerous impressive physical attributes that can be molded into something more. Johnson's also an eager learner, so he could be a training camp stud if some early momentum is generated.

While the likes of Marquis Haynes Sr. and Yetur Gross-Matos are ahead of Johnson on the outside linebacker depth chart currently, that might not be the case for much longer. Something that represents a best-case scenario for the rookie and the Panthers.