4 Carolina Panthers UDFAs who could steal a roster spot in 2024

Could some unheralded prospects make their way into the Carolina Panthers' plans.
Popo Aumavae
Popo Aumavae / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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Popo Aumavae - Carolina Panthers DL

The Carolina Panthers didn't do much to enhance their nose tackle options during the 2024 NFL Draft. This has been an overlooked need for two straight offseasons since Ejiro Evero switched to a creative 3-4 base scheme. Shy Tuttle remains the starter, so those in power believe he can perform better with two exceptional forces alongside him in the form of Derrick Brown and A'Shawn Robinson.

Regardless of whether Tuttle shines or not, the Panthers need a contingency plan in the event he cannot raise performance levels. The Panthers spent a late-round selection on Jaden Crumedy, but he's seen more as a 3-4 defensive end rather than someone capable of clogging up space on the interior.

This was a head-scratcher, especially considering the options available throughout the draft. Carolina picked up Popo Aumavae when the undrafted free-agent frenzy began, which could provide the Panthers with a backup option capable of assisting providing his transition from college to the pros goes smoothly.

Aumavae's dealt with some injury issues throughout his college career at Oregon, but at 6-foot-2 and more than 300 pounds, he could be utilized as a nose tackle option if some extra mass is added. He's disruptive with heavy hands, but the prospect does have trouble shedding blocks once early momentum is lost.

Looking at Carolina's current options, it seems like Nick Thurman is the backup nose tackle behind Tuttle until further notice. He's also a former undrafted free agent, so if Aumavae outperforms him throughout camp, a situation could emerge where the Panthers
give him a shot.

Everyone has to earn their spot under Dave Canales' new coaching regime. Aumavae will get a legitimate chance just like everyone else, but whether he has enough as an older rookie coming into a league that takes no prisoners is another matter.

Make no mistake, Aumavae won't be found wanting for effort that's for sure.