Marquan McCall - Carolina Panthers NT
An undrafted free agent out of the University of Kentucky in 2022, Marquan McCall has a real opportunity at his doorstep this season. The switch over to new defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero’s 3-4 base system is one that plays to his strength – literally.
Listed at 6-foot-3 and 345 pounds, the former Wildcat is the prototypical nose tackle. Despite donning the No. 55 jersey, he’s not likely to remind you of former Carolina Panthers linebacker and current assistant general manager, Dan Morgan. No, McCall is a mountain of a human and plays with the tenacity of a player that understands his advantage.
In order for the defense to thrive and excel in creating chaos, the front is of utmost importance. As the nose tackle, McCall is asked to occupy multiple blockers and free things up for the second-level defenders.
As we expect a heavy dose of sub-package and nickel personnel – meaning more defensive backs on the field than in conventional formations – it’s imperative to limit how often the opposing linemen can get their mitts on the smaller, but faster, secondary defenders.
McCall is more than just a space-eater that can muddy gaps for running backs and open avenues for pressure to fly through. The second-year player has some twitch of his own.
Many fans will warmly recall the impact that Kris Jenkins had on the Panthers teams he was a part of. His second residence was behind the line of scrimmage.
Not to put that expectation on McCall, but I do believe there’s a physical ability that is fair to conjure up familiar sentiment. The lineman has the traits and work ethic to make a similar disruptive impact on this team.
With the release of depth chart competitor Bravvion Roy, the path is clearing for the young defensive lineman to step into a considerable role this season.