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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D.J. Johnson - Carolina Panthers OLB

Again, I'm happy to be proved wrong about this in the coming years. But trading up for edge rusher D.J. Johnson was a bad pick at the time and seems even more so now.

Heads were scratched around the media when the Panthers surged up for Johnson at No. 80 overall in the 2023 NFL Draft. Many thought this was a panic decision after general manager Scott Fitterer stated they were running out of pass-rushers to take from their board. Depending on the analyst, he either carried a Day 3 projection or in some cases, the undrafted tag. Nobody had him going relatively early in the third round.

To nobody's surprise, Johnson found life difficult. He was incredibly raw after transitioning to the defensive side of things at Oregon after initially starting as a tight end. Chances of reps on the rotation were restricted early on under Ejiro Evero. When opportunities arrived later in the campaign, there wasn't enough explosiveness to make a significant difference.

Johnson is older than most players entering their second season. Time is of the essence if he wants to make anything of his NFL career. But there is a huge amount of work ahead.

Much will depend on what reinforcements come in this offseason, but Johnson could be fighting for his roster spot this summer. Taking him as a third-round pick was bad enough. Sacrificing additional assets for the privilege was incompetence of the highest order.