The Carolina Panthers are looking forward to the 2021-2022 football season. Let’s flashback momentarily to an announcement of a new regime with Matt Rhule taking over the head coaching duties. Joe Brady would be named the offensive coordinator, and Phil Snow the defensive coordinator. Deciding to part ways with a former MVP and First-Team All-Pro quarterback Cam Newton. A year where workhorse linebacker Luke Kuechly announces his retirement. Star running back Christian McCaffrey would go on the IR for the majority of the season.
The team would end up finishing the season with a 5-11 record. The unique thing about a new season is everyone starts with a clean slate. The optimism is in the air for this second-year coaching staff to have a successful year.
The trade for a New York quarterback
Sam Darnold, like the Carolina Panthers, is looking for a fresh start. Darnold who was taken in the 2018 NFL Draft with the third overall pick to the New York Jets has struggled in his NFL career. Many would say it was the environment within the New York Jets organization. Others would say it is because he is a USC QB.
Either way, Sam Darnold would end up getting that fresh start when he was traded to the Carolina Panthers for a 2021 sixth-round pick, a 2022 second-round pick, and a 2022 fourth-round pick. Darnold has some good wideouts in Carolina with DJ Moore, Robby Anderson, and recently drafted Terrance Marshall Jr. from LSU. According to NFL Analysis Sam Darnold is projected to throw for 3,500 yards, 28 touchdowns which would be career numbers for him.
Capitalizing on the 2021 NFL Draft
With the 8th pick in the 2020 NFL draft, the Carolina Panthers select Jaycee Horn, a cornerback from South Carolina. This was a tremendous pick to go with Donte Jackson and safety Jeremy Chinn. A very youthful, and talented secondary that can apply pressure to opposing receivers.
The Panthers also drafted wideout Terrance Marshall Jr. in the second round with pick No.27. Marshall should look to contribute with the loss of Curtis Samuel to the Washington Football Team. Some other key additions looking to have an impact this season is third-round pick, OT Brady Christensen, from BYU, third-round pick TE Tommy Tremble from Notre Dame, and fourth-round RB Chuba Hubbard from Oklahoma State. Hubbard will be a good backup to C-Mac.
Leadership throughout the team
This team and specifically this defense will rely heavily on veteran leadership. The linebackers are stacked with veterans like Shaq Thompson, Denzel Perryman, and Haason Reddick. They also recently announced the addition of Josh Bynes. Some that would be youthful leadership are the likes of DE Brian Burns, and DT Derrick Brown both looking to have major impacts on opposing offensive lines. This team will rely heavily on its leadership as they prepare for the 2021 season.
The Carolina Panthers play in the NFC South. The reigning super bowl champions, Tampa Bay Buccaneers are projected to win the division again. Other teams like the Atlanta Falcons which traded star wideout Julio Jones are looking to have a rebound year, and the New Orleans Saints who had their future hall of fame quarterback Drew Brees call it a career will have question marks at the quarterback position.
If the Carolina Panthers can find ways to score all while holding opposing teams on defense could sneak into the playoffs in a wildcard spot. The season is quickly approaching and the season has potential for the Carolina Panthers.