4 players the Carolina Panthers will miss the most in 2024

These departures will be sorely felt.
Brian Burns
Brian Burns / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
4 of 4

Carolina Panthers could pay for mismanaging Jeremy Chinn

This one is more of a personal choice than something that will affect the Carolina Panthers long-term. However, versatile defender Jeremy Chinn will be missed. Not for what the young athletic specimen did on the field in recent years, but for what could have been.

Chinn should have stayed at linebacker after a truly remarkable start to his career that saw the rookie come up just shy of winning NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2020. The former second-round pick transitioned seamlessly and looked like the next great Panthers presence at the defensive second-level.

The versatility and playmaking ability of Chinn was on full display. He was allowed to play close to the line of scrimmage and use his nose for the football to make plays against the run. Where cracks formed was always in coverage, but that didn't stop him from taking the league by storm immediately.

After that, the Panthers switched Chinn to the safety position where he starred in college. This was a mistake.

While there was always hope that Chinn would become a Pro Bowl safety or cornerback and solve the Panther's issues in the defensive backfield, this is a classic example of not seeing the forest for the trees. He regressed accordingly and those who made such a grave error in judgment are no longer around.

You can hope a cherry tree will give you an apple. But in the end, it is still a cherry tree. That is exactly what happened with Chinn.

The team tried to make a linebacker into a safety and the results were as expected. When Ejiro Evero came into the fold, he became an afterthought in the Panthers' 3-4 base scheme and couldn't wait to get away, eventually signing for the Washington Commanders.

Carolina won't necessarily miss the production of Chinn this season, it will miss what he could have been for this team. A defensive star that could have been a cornerstone of the new-look Panthers.