4 Carolina Panthers players who cannot afford to get complacent in 2023

Terrace Marshall Jr.
Terrace Marshall Jr. / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
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Shaq Thompson - Carolina Panthers LB

The Carolina Panthers and Shaq Thompson reached a compromise to ensure the veteran linebacker stuck around under the new coaching regime. This was the best possible outcome considering how revered the former first-round selection is among his peers and across the fanbase.

Thompson's on-field production gets unfairly criticized. He is a supreme organizer before the snap, can become impactful against the run, and has also improved from a coverage standpoint over the last two seasons for good measure.

Switching to the inside under Steve Wilks was a masterstroke and something that looks set to continue with Ejro Evero leading the charge. Thompson and Frankie Luvu look like a potent middle linebacker tandem that could be extremely important to the team's hopes, but there is a lot to pick up and not much time to do it before Week 1 at the Atlanta Falcons rolls around.

The one-time Washington star might be a savvy veteran now, but he's still learning how to operate within a 3-4 scheme. This should ensure complacency doesn't become an issue for Thompson under the third permanent coaching staff since he was drafted by the Panthers in 2015.

Thompson is the undisputed leader within the locker room. If he can adjust well to his new role at the defensive second level and assist others pre-snap, then keeping him around will be seen as a tremendous piece of off-season business.