4 Carolina Panthers players we can safely call busts after the 2023 season

Things haven't gone according to plan for these Carolina Panthers players...

Terrace Marshall Jr.
Terrace Marshall Jr. / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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Chandler Zavala - Carolina Panthers OL

I'm always wary about putting first-year players on this type of list. They need a bit of good grace - especially given the toxic environment within the Carolina Panthers last season. But it's hard to look at Chandler Zavala with any other tag after an atrocious start to his NFL journey.

Offensive line coach James Campen was doing cartwheels in the draft war room after the Panthers selected Zavala at No. 114 overall. He texted general manager Scott Fitterer before Day 3 began to stake one final claim. This was worth its weight in gold as he became their fourth-round selection.

While many thought Zavala was a development project, some analysts thought he could slot into a starting role immediately with a smooth transition. With Austin Corbett on the shelf, the North Carolina State product got his shot.

In hindsight, this was way too soon. Zavala was overwhelmed and outmatched in pass protection. There were some flashes on running plays, but nowhere near the level expected from a starting guard at the next level.

Zavala going down with an injury was a blessing in disguise from the play's standpoint. In just 374 snaps of offense, he's credited with six sacks conceded and three penalties allowed. His 26.2 grade from Pro Football Focus is one of the worst ever recorded.

I'll be happy to be proved wrong, but this looks like a wasted selection from the Panthers until proven otherwise.