4 Carolina Panthers players who didn't stand a chance in 2023

These Carolina Panthers players were doomed to fail...

Jeremy Chinn
Jeremy Chinn / Christopher Mast/GettyImages
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Which Carolina Panthers players didn't stand a chance as the team spiraled into the league's worst record during the 2023 campaign?

After so many supposedly impressive signings and draft picks throughout a busy offseason, those in power within the Carolina Panthers were pretty full of themselves. Bold predictions about winning the division and making a postseason splash were frequent. Unfortunately, these big checks written weren't close to being cashed.

The Panthers were in freefall almost immediately. They found it difficult to generate any sort of momentum en route to just two wins throughout the campaign. Frank Reich paid with his job after 11 contests. General manager Scott Fitterer was also relieved of his duties once the season ended.

It was a sorry state of affairs from start to finish. The pressure to make the right hires is glaring in the coming days. But that shouldn't stop the new regime from examining what went wrong and reacting accordingly.

With this in mind, here are four Panthers players who never stood a chance in 2023.

Chandler Zavala - Carolina Panthers OL

When the Carolina Panthers spent a fourth-round selection on Chandler Zavala, he was seen as an intriguing development project who could make his presence felt as a starter with further refinement. Unfortunately for the franchise, they had no option other than to throw the former North Carolina State standout to the wolves straight away.

Injuries to key figures meant Zavala was thrust into the starting lineup way ahead of time. It came as no surprise to see the interior offensive lineman struggle. He looked like a rabbit in the headlights, quickly becoming a weak link in the Panthers' suspect protection.

In just 374 snaps, Zavala conceded six sacks and gave up three penalties. His 26.2 grade from Pro Football Focus is one of the worst I can ever remember. Injuries prevented further damage to his confidence, but the Panthers had no business putting him into the firing line when the rookie wasn't ready.