Concerning injury report could expose Carolina Panthers' pass rush

This is something to monitor as the summer unfolds.
D.J. Wonnum
D.J. Wonnum / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

The Carolina Panthers need all hands on deck to stand any chance of making waves under new head coach Dave Canales next season. Taking passengers through onto the 53-man roster is not an option. Everyone needs to be fit and talented enough to make differing levels of impact. Anything less could see the same problems emerge.

Canales knows the job is just getting started. Dan Morgan navigated his first offseason as general manager well. At the same time, he admitted that not every problem was going to be solved instantly. This is a long-term plan for progress, especially considering the sorry state of affairs Carolina's progressive power couple inherited.

One of the most concerning areas of the depth chart is nothing new. The Panthers are in dire need of pass-rushing help. Something that could become more urgent after some concerning news on D.J. Wonnum's rehabilitation from a torn quad.

Carolina Panthers reveal D.J. Wonnum rehabilitation setback

When speaking about Carolina's free-agent signing from the Minnesota Vikings, Canales revealed via USA Today Sports that Wonnum suffered a setback in his recovery. Based on his comments, it might be some time before fans get to see him on the field.

"Just working through some different things. He [D.J. Wonnum] had some complications . . . he had a quadricep tendon rupture there. And so he had a repair and there was some different things they had to clean out. So it’s kinda just like this back-and-forth trying to get him as healthy as we can so we can get him on the field and get him back to full speed. So he’s still kinda working through some of those things."

Dave Canales via USA Today Sports

With Jadeveon Clowney also absent from voluntary organized team activities, it's given Carolina's younger edge rushers a chance to stake their claim. It's also exposed the team's lack of legitimate depth.

The Panthers cannot go into the campaign with Eku Leota, D.J. Johnson, Amare Barno, K'Lavon Chaisson, and Luiji Vilain as their options behind the projected starting duo. They must get more help. Hopefully, this is something not going unnoticed by Morgan as part of his ongoing evaluations.

We're still early in the process. The Panthers will take things slowly with Wonnum to prevent any further complications. This latest news isn't great, but it's too early to state whether or not it'll impact his chances of hitting the ground running in the regular season.

It's something to monitor, at the very least. Morgan said he plans to be active on the waiver wire with the No. 1 priority. If a good edge rusher gets released after not quite making the grade elsewhere, the Panthers would be wise to explore the possibility in greater detail.

Losing Brian Burns, Frankie Luvu, and Yetur Gross-Matos during the offseason left a gaping hole. Someone could surge forward and surprise, but it would take a monumental effort based on how those lower down the depth chart performed last season with the Panthers or on another team.

Unless one of the aforementioned younger players steps up, the Panthers need more. In all honesty, that's the case whether Wonnum is healthy or not.