The Carolina Panthers were able to secure a win in the preseason opener versus the Chicago Bears. They have wasted no time in getting well-acquainted with their next opponent after taking part in a joint practice with the Buffalo Bills ahead of their NFL preseason Week 2 matchup on Friday.
The Panthers managed to bring in some intriguing prospects on both sides of the ball in recent years, especially this offseason through the 2019 NFL Draft. Unlike most young, unproven upstarts, they will be tasked with taking on an immediate role n the 2019 NFL season.
Carolina had to be pleased with what they saw from some of their new faces in the 23-12 win over Chicago. Here are a few players to keep a close eye on in Week 2 of the preseason.
The retirement of Panthers legend Julius Peppers has left a notable void left in the pass rush department. Fortunately, Carolina managed to get a head start on filling it by taking defensive end Brian Burns with the 16th overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft.
Burns wasted no time in making his presence felt with his performance in training camp. He has quickly able to show why he was taken in the first round pick after registering two tackles and 2.0 sacks against the Bears.
The rookie will certainly have his work cut out trying to revamp a pass rush that finished the 2018 campaign ranked 27th in sacks. Regardless, he has given the Panthers good reason for what is to come as a potential impact player in the 2019 NFL season.
Aside from shoring up the defensive line through this year’s draft, Carolina also invested a second-round pick in left tackle Greg Little to address their issues on the offensive line.
While Burns is tasked with turning things around up front on defense, left tackle Greg Little will be expected to hold things down at a crucial position on the offensive line.
Despite working with the second unit during practice, the Panthers started him over left tackle Darryl Williams against the Bears. While he certainly had some ups and downs in his preseason debut, he enjoyed an overall solid outing by allowing only two pressures in the first half.
Carolina was clearly enamored with his prowess as a pass-blocker in college, however, he will need to show he is capable of providing some push in the run game as well for Christian McCaffrey.
Although the Panthers have not been shy about their optimism regarding quarterback Cam Newton’s recovery from a lingering shoulder injury, they are still taking a cautious approach by having him sit out of the preseason. As a result, they made sure to usher in plenty of competition to be his backup this season.
Despite there being three quarterbacks in the mix for the No. 2 spot, it appears Kyle Allen has started to stand out among them. He solidified that notion with a strong performance against Chicago after completing 7-of-11 passes for 76 yards behind a makeshift offensive line.
Allen entered training camp with a notable advantage over quarterbacks Will Grier and Tyler Heinicke as the only returning player other than Newton under center. His familiarity with Carolina’s system should continue to pay dividends in his bid to secure the backup spot this preseason.