Ranking the top 10 Carolina Panthers players on the 2024 roster

Who are the best players on the Carolina Panthers in 2024?
Jaycee Horn
Jaycee Horn / Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
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6. Diontae Johnson - Carolina Panthers WR

When 33-year-old Adam Thielen is your No. 1 wide receiver instead of normally being a No. 3 target, things likely aren't going well in your offense. That was certainly the case in 2023.

Heading into this offseason, it was paramount that the Carolina Panthers found their WR1.

Dan Morgan did just that by trading for Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver and former Pro Bowler Diontae Johnson. Had the sixth-year receiver been placed in Carolina’s 2023 wideout corps, he would’ve been head and toes the best playmaker on the team. You could argue that this is still the case.

A former third-round selection from Toledo, Johnson is one of the better route runners in the league, offering high-level movement skills and subtle moves that allow him to create consistent separation in his route stems. His elite short-area quickness and flexibility make him a terror on underneath concepts and RPOs, Bryce Young’s specialty.

Likewise, Johnson has near-elite football intelligence with the ability to identify and attack zone or man mismatches and leverage.

In retrospect, Johnson is more of a low-end No. 1 wide receiver, but that doesn’t mean he can’t become more in Carolina. Dave Canales and offensive coordinator Brad Idizk see him as their X and he can fill that role well.

Johnson offers three-level route running ability, yards after-the-catch skills, great ball tracking ability, and much-improved ball skills after drops hindered much of his first four seasons in Pittsburgh.

The pass-catcher enters his first year with the Panthers in the final year of his contract. Should he put up similar numbers to his 2021 Pro Bowl season, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Johnson either secure the franchise tag or receive a long-term extension.

5. Robert Hunt - Carolina Panthers OL

Progression and development are seldom linear. This can be said for Robert Hunt during his time with the Miami Dolphins over the last four seasons.

The former top 50 draft selection from Louisiana has experience playing and starting at right guard despite inconsistencies on his way to a breakout season in 2023.

At 6-foot-6 and 330 pounds, Hunt stands out on the field compared to his competition. There will be eyes glued to the one-on-one battles in training camp against star defensive tackle Derrick Brown.

The former Ragin’ Cajun offensive lineman has been relatively healthy, starting in 55 of a possible 61 games. This is a positive for the Panthers' protection, which dealt with numerous changes in 2023.

Not only is Hunt a massive human, but he also has adequate movement skills, allowing him to reach the second level easily. The former Dolphin should have a seamless fit in Dave Canales’ run game due to his experience with wide zone, inside zone, trap, wham, and man-blocking run concepts.

Oh, and he loves to hunt in the run game and pass protection, pun intended.

Hunt’s breakout season featured improvement toward fitting his hands and placement in both facets of his game coupled with more consistency in pass sets. The veteran also displays a strong anchor that allows him to become a concrete wall. There’s a lot of power in his game and it is evident on every play he’s on the field.

With a five-year, $100 million contract, there are plenty of expectations for Hunt to meet. It seems clear that Carolina has high hopes for him. However, entering the 2024 regular season, he is one of the five best players on the roster with the potential to be even better.