Panthers list four rookies as defensive starters

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The Panthers Defense is going to have an incredibly different look this year, and it doesn’t take a long look at their unofficial depth chart to realize it.

The Panthers list four of their 2020 NFL Draft picks as starters, among their dramatic turnover on that side of the ball for new coach Matt Rhule.

Between the retirement of linebacker Luke Kuechly and the mass exodus of veteran talent (Gerald McCoy, Dontari Poe, Mario Addison, Bruce Irvin, James Bradberry, Eric Reid), the Panthers are going to have a new look on that side of the ball (such that replacing Cam Newton with Teddy Bridgewater doesn’t give them a dramatic makeover on offense).

First-round defensive tackle Derrick Brown and second-round defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos are listed as starters on the line, while second-round safety Jeremy Chinn is listed as co-starter at outside linebacker. Realistically, Chinn’s going to play multiple roles for the Panthers this year, and they think he’ll make an early impact on passing downs.

Fourth-round cornerback Troy Pride Jr. is the other rookie starter listed, though the position opposite Donte Jackson is in flux. With Eli Apple headed to injured reserve and Rasul Douglas just arriving as a waiver claim, they’re still looking for answers at that position.