Grading Carolina Panthers position groups on offense ahead of 2023 NFL Draft
By Noah Bryce
Carolina Panthers RB group
Running back is a bit of a weird one to try and quantify after what took place last season. The Carolina Panthers traded away the best running back in the league, yet somehow became a better-rushing team as an effect of it.
While it wasn't that Christian McCaffrey was a problem, the subtraction of that level of talent forced the team to adapt and figure out their true identity. One that leaned heavily upon the shoulders of D'Onta Foreman and paid off more often than not with some truly spectacular performances.
However, with all things in life, change came to the Panthers once more and Foreman was allowed to walk. The team brought in Miles Sanders to fill the hole.
Sanders had a breakout season in 2022, rushing for a staggering 1,269 yards when compared to the player's previous marks. Now some of that has to be attributed to the juggernaut that was the Philadelphia Eagles offense last season, but the young running back certainly was a large part of that success.
The only real question is whether or not adding a shifty back like Sanders was the right decision after how the team evolved into a bruising scheme. However, that burst and versatility is something that the Panthers have always valued in a player. All it takes is one cut and the running back has the ability to gain the first down and much more.
This isn't to say that Sanders and incumbent backup Chuba Hubbard aren't capable of running between the tackles. Far from it, that just isn't the main aspect of their game.
Speaking of the reserve back, Hubbard has finally started to cash in on the potential that everyone saw in college and has blossomed into a very nice complementary piece. A change of pace that doesn't have too large of a dropoff in capability or talent that cannot be discounted.
Pre-Draft Grade: B
With that said, it remains to be seen just how well Sanders will be able to perform outside of the Philadelphia bubble, but there is a reason for fans to be excited for the running back room again. Something that will only make it easier for whoever the team ends up drafting No. 1 overall.