4 position groups the Carolina Panthers must upgrade in 2024

The new regime has a lot of hard work ahead.

D.J. Chark Jr.
D.J. Chark Jr. / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers must upgrade their pass-rush

Edge rusher was an upgrade needed for the Carolina Panthers during the 2023 offseason. Nothing has changed since.

The Panthers' defense was the worst in the league with 27 team sacks. Brian Burns didn’t take the expected step forward to build on his career year in 2022 where he tallied 12.5 sacks. In Ejiro Evero’s new 3-4 defense, he collected eight sacks along with 32 tackles. 

In attempts to bolster the edge rusher production, the Panthers signed veteran Justin Houston before training camp. He didn’t pan out en route to half a sack and five tackles over the seven games he played for Carolina. 

Another factor in play is the uncertainty of Burns' future in Carolina. If the former first-round pick is franchise-tagged and traded, that could potentially leave two starting spots available. Fans could expect the team to acquire an edge rusher in the NFL Draft and/or free agency if this is the chosen path.

The Panthers traded up to select D.J. Johnson in the third round last year. His statistics and production were questioned throughout the season by the fanbase. He tallied 16 total tackles with zero sacks and a tackle for loss in 13 games. 

No matter what happens in the offseason, the Panthers must add a starting caliber edge rusher in some capacity - whether that’s in the NFL Draft or free agency. The team's sack production must increase in 2024 to be successful.