5 Carolina Panthers who are already turning heads at 2024 OTAs

Some players have staked an early claim this offseason.
Xavier Legette
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Xavier Woods - Carolina Panthers S

The Carolina Panthers lost some established figures on the defensive side of the football this offseason. Some were moved on in free agency. Others were released outright. Dan Morgan also opted to trade star edge rusher Brian Burns to the New York Giants after the previous regime fractured this relationship past the point of no return.

It's all changed for defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero. Fortunately for the future head coach, some constants who were part of the set-up last season remain. He'll be depending on them heavily to ensure performance levels stay consistent despite the Panthers transitioning their investment to help quarterback Bryce Young.

Xavier Woods is one of them. The veteran safety was one of the team's best performers last season. His contribution went relatively under the radar compared to most, but the coaching staff knows how vital he became and will be to any future progress in 2024.

According to those in attendance, Woods looked the part throughout the early portion of organized team activities. The former sixth-round selection out of Louisiana Tech is an exceptional communicator on the backend and even managed to get an interception off Young during drills. Converting opportunities into turnovers is going to be crucial in pursuit of a new deal when the upcoming campaign concludes.

If Woods can remain healthy, there's nothing to suggest he cannot be an impactful presence within the secondary. The Panthers are going to place Jordan Fuller alongside him following Vonn Bell's departure. This has the making of a productive safety tandem if both players develop a strong working relationship throughout the summer.

Woods gave up a measly 65.4 passer rating when targeted last season and earned a phenomenal 80.3 grade from Pro Football Focus as a result of his efforts. Anything similar in the final year of his deal would make it difficult for the Panthers to part ways with the player next spring.