The Carolina Panthers have experienced a changing of the guard heading into 2019. Gone are Panther legends Julius Peppers, Thomas Davis, and Ryan Kalil. Other veterans like Captain Munnerlyn and Mike Adams are also no longer in Charlotte. The team is significantly younger at marquee positions, such as pass rushers, pass catchers, offensive tackles, and defensive backs.
Great opportunities lie ahead in many different ways for some Panthers in 2019. High-stakes contract years face cornerback James Bradberry and linebacker Shaq Thompson. Overcoming injury is the storyline for Cam Newton, Greg Olsen, Daryl Williams, and Matt Paradis. Young receivers Curtis Samuel and DJ Moore will try to prove that they the best pass-catching weapons that Cam Newton has had in his career.
These players will all look to break out in their own right in 2019, but we will focus on the players whose names do not yet immediately come to mind when thinking about the Carolina Panthers.
A breakout player is someone who drastically outperforms their expectations within a single-season. Last year, Christian McCaffrey fit the bill of a breakout player to a T. In his rookie season, McCaffrey finished with under 500 yards rushing and just two rushing touchdowns. He nearly tripled that in 2018, finishing third in the NFL in all-purpose yards and making himself known as one of the NFL’s elite running backs.
Let’s take a look at some Carolina Panthers who have the opportunity to have career-best years and reach the top-tier of their position group this year in the NFL.