The Panthers went into the 2020 season with a lot of young players on defense after using all seven of their draft picks to stock that side of the ball.
That unit wound up finishing 18th in the league in both points and yards allowed while integrating all of those new pieces. Carolina used its first-round pick on cornerback Jaycee Horn, but this offseason’s additions have generally been a bit more seasoned.
Free agents like linebackers Haason Reddick and Denzel Perryman and cornerback A.J. Bouye arrived as free agents to bolster a unit that edge rusher Brian Burns thinks has taken a step forward since this time last year.
“I feel like we’re kind of complete now, to be honest. . . .We had a lot of rookies that needed to step up,” Burns said, via the team’s website. “They came, they got better each and every week, so by the end of the season, they came along. Going into this season, their second year, they should have their feet wet and be fine now. We’re up and running now. I don’t feel like a lot of things can stop us this year.”
Much attention has been paid to the Panthers’ offensive moves, particularly the trade for quarterback Sam Darnold. A stronger defense will give that unit time to gel and Burns believes that the Panthers will have that advantage come the fall.