4 unheralded Carolina Panthers rookies who can surge up depth chart in 2024

Opportunity awaits these Carolina Panthers rookies.
Michael Barrett
Michael Barrett / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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Michael Barrett - Carolina Panthers LB

The Carolina Panthers spent their final selection of the 2024 NFL Draft on Michael Barrett. Although undersized, the national college football championship winner out of Michigan is highly determined and plays with a level of ferocity that ensured he heard his name called late in the process.

It's not the size of the dog in the fight, it's the size of the fight in the dog. Barrett has proved that on countless occasions throughout his illustrious college career. While the task awaiting him is difficult, he'll tackle it with his customary determination and won't ever be found wanting for effort.

The NFL is a ruthless beast, so it won't take the Panthers' coaching staff long to figure out whether Barrett's lack of true size for a second-level presence is going to cause irreparable damage to his chances of carving out a role for himself. Dan Morgan thinks they've found a leader with the right mindset that fits his way of thinking, but proving his worth in a professional environment is critical to raise confidence further.

Barrett's athleticism - or lack thereof - might also be a complication. However, if the player compensates for this by using his instincts and football IQ effectively, there's a chance he can propel himself into a key rotational piece and core special teamer right out of the gate.

The Panthers signed veteran Josey Jewell after losing Frankie Luvu to the Washington Commanders in free agency. They also spent a third-round selection on Trevin Wallace, who is a little rough around the edges but boasts the athletic traits that could potentially be harnessed into something more over time.

Barrett will be fully aware of how steep the climb will be this offseason. He's starting from the bottom and must work his way up in pursuit of playing time. It'll be difficult, there's no getting away from that, but don't be surprised if he starts making a name for himself through tireless commitment and the biggest will-to-win imaginable.