4 Carolina Panthers who can help themselves most at 2024 training camp 

These players will be under immediate pressure.
D.J. Johnson
D.J. Johnson / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
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The new era of Carolina Panthers’ football is well and truly underway. Dave Canales is looking to turn the fortunes of one of the league's worst franchises around. No postseason appearances since 2017 and no playoff wins since the 2015 NFC Championship is a damming indictment of how things have spiraled.

However, it’s time to look forward. The new leadership duo of Dave Canales and Dan Morgan look to captain the Panthers to calmer waters. Early signs suggest meddling owner David Tepper has taken more of a back seat, which can only be seen as a positive.   

There have been substantial changes to the playing personnel this offseason. Brian Burns and Frankie Luvu left, leaving a slightly depleted defensive unit. On the offensive side of the ball, the alterations were far more drastic.

The likes of Robert Hunt, Damien Lewis, and Diontae Johnson signify the Panthers are doing all they can to put second-year quarterback Bryce Young in the best possible position to succeed. It's paramount that improvement is shown by the signal-caller.

Anyone with half a brain cell can see the variables against Young in 2023. It’s also important to note the player could have performed better. The Panthers will get a true evaluation of his capabilities next time around.

With changes afoot across the board, this could see pressure on some starters to perform. Which four Panthers players could help themselves when training camp gets underway? 

D.J. Johnson - Carolina Panthers OLB

D.J. Johnson has a chance to earn more playing time in 2024. Many decisions former general manager Scott Fitterer made have been brought under the microscope. None more so than the trade-up to select the edge rusher at No. 80 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft.

Johnson’s six-year college career at Oregon and Miami yielded a paltry eight sacks after transitioning from the tight end spot. Deciding to trade up to select the player was confusing. That’s before we mention the fact he will be 26 years old during the upcoming season.

For context, Brian Burns - entering his sixth NFL season - was born just six months before Johnson.   

The Carolina Panthers are looking sparse at the edge rusher spots heading into 2024. Jadeveon Clowney and D.J. Wonnum are slated to be the starters. The latter is dealing with a torn quad suffered late last season and recently suffered a setback in his recovery according to head coach Dave Canales.

It seems unlikely the former South Carolina Gamecock will be ready once camp kicks off. This could promote Johnson to a starting role opposite Clowney. After a difficult rookie campaign, the pressure will be on to show much more in Year 2.