The Carolina Panthers enter training camp this week in Spartanburg, North Carolina with a new era in store. The Panthers agreed to a massive rookie deal with top selector Bryce Young right in time for the start of camp.
Head coach Frank Reich has a lot to do as the team prepares for the 2023 NFL season. The Panthers finished with a 7–10 record last season, only one game behind NFC South champion Tampa Bay, but also tied for last place in the Division.
The good news is that many of Carolina’s top performers have been replaced with potential upgrades for this upcoming season. The Panthers’ 2023 depth chart lists rising star Miles Sanders as the team’s starting quarterback.
Sanders’ presence alone with hard worker Young at quarterback gives Panthers fans hope for a better tomorrow. Now with top receiver DJ Moore in Chicago, the wide receiver position has become one of the fiercest training camp battles for former Bills QB Reich’s team.
Here are the three biggest training camp battles to keep an eye on ahead of the Panthers’ 2023 NFL season:
The Panthers brought in terrific route runner and savvy former Vikings veteran Adam Thilen as their potential top wideout this season. Thielen is already impressed with Young’s play at quarterback.
Former Detroit Lion DJ Chark is expected to do battle with Terrence Marshall, Jr. and Levisca Chenault, Jr. for the goal in the passing game of Young and Reich. Charak just got caught 30 balls for 502 yards Last season, Amon-Ra was playing second fiddle to the St. brown. Chenault had 27 catches with the Jaguars in what was seen as a disappointing season, especially for fantasy owners.
Marshall, Jr. is the wild card. Former LSU Tigers Standout 28 catches for 490 yards Last season, the potential for the big game was looming. Overall, this is a situation for guys with a high quality locker room that can move forward with Young.
Expect Marshall, Jr. and Chark to have the most success overall, with Chenault developing into a bigger player over time.
The Panthers lacked depth at this position this season. Donte Jackson and Jesse Horn have talent, but durability is a concern.
Behind the Panthers’ main starters, CJ Henderson, Keith Taylor, Jr., Stantley-Thomas Oliver III and Greg Mabin are among those expected to compete for the third spot. Henderson, a 6-foot-1-inch former Florida Gator and first-round pick, is expected to get the most reps this season for new defensive coordinator Ejiro Avro, and expect the Panthers to suffer a lot of shootouts if this unit doesn’t get healthy and in shape quickly.
Standout edge rusher Brian Burns’ contract negotiations recently got a significant update. Burns is the expected starter at the outside linebacker position in Avro’s 3-4 defense, but the team lacks a proven second option after quarterback.
6-foot-2 Marquis Haynes of Mississippi has the best chance to start alongside Burns. Haynes had five sacks last season with 19 solo tackles. Yetur Gross-Matos, who had 2.5 sacks and 54 total tackles last season, is another viable option if the team opts for a more run-stuffing component in this part of the defense.
The six-foot-4, 270-pound DJ Johnson has the potential to be an impact player at this position as well. The 2023 third-round pick and former Oregon Duck had 8.5 tackles for loss last season. If Johnson can harness his immense potential in training camp, he could become an X-factor in a defense that needs more playmakers alongside Burns, and will be in a hurry if the Panthers are to compete for a division title in 2023.