The Carolina Panthers are rebuilding and these best under 25 will surely help.
From hiring head coach Matt Rhule to hitting reset at quarterback by signing Teddy Bridgewater, the Carolina Panthers are one of the latest NFL examples of a team hitting the reset button. But unlike many teams that tear it all the way down, the Panthers actually find themselves in an advantageous position.
Put simply, the Panthers already have a boatload of young talent on their roster, even before their all-defense class in the 2020 NFL Draft that features possible game-changers such as Derrick Brown in the first round. That gives Carolina a solid foundation to build upon as they move forward, which will surely work in they favor — assuming they make the right moves.
Let’s take a look at some of that high-end young talent as we rank the Carolina Panthers’ five best players under 25 years old, meaning they will be under that age when the 2020 season kicks off on Sept. 10.
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5. Joey Slye, K
Joey Slye got his first taste of NFL action last season and, in turn, the Carolina Panthers found a long-term option at kicker. The Virginia Tech product proved to be phenomenal, going 25-of-32 on field goal attempts, hitting all of them under 40 yards, and going 31-of-35 on extra-point attempts as well. As long as Slye can stay on this trajectory, he has the possibility to be one of the best players at the position in the NFL.
4. Curtis Samuel, WR
I’ll be the first to admit that Curtis Samuel is not totally my flavor. But he undoubtedly has ways he can win in the NFL, as a gadget player and a downfield threat. The issue for him, however, has been that Cam Newton and Kyle Allen haven’t been consistent enough in getting him the ball in ways where he can thrive. The hope is that Teddy Bridgewater can change that and we can start to see the young receiver’s potential start to be unlocked.
3. Brian Burns, EDGE
This is going to be a theme for this spot and the next one but the situation in Carolina has overshadowed how good Brian Burns was in his rookie season with the Panthers.
Burns was put on this earth to get after the passer and he showcased that out of the gate. Playing in all 16 games, but starting only five, the edge rusher was third on the team with 7.5 sacks and also racked up five more tackles for loss and 16 QB hits. With more help joining him on defense, he could increase those totals in a flash in year two.
2. D.J. Moore, WR
Because of the quarterback play he’s been saddled with in his two NFL seasons, people might not realize how good D.J. Moore has been for the Panthers. But despite the throws coming to him, Moore registered 87 receptions for 1,175 yards, even if he only had four touchdowns. He’s one of the premier young wide receivers in the league and, with Teddy Bridgewater taking over, it might not be long before people realize that on a larger scale.
1. Christian McCaffrey, RB
Like there could be anyone else as the best Carolina Panthers player under 25 years old than Christian McCaffrey.
Run CMC has established himself as the NFL’s best running back, which his new extension pays him like. Just turning 24 years old, McCaffrey has rushed for 2,920 yards and 24 touchdowns on 623 carries along with 303 receptions for 2,523 yards and 15 touchdowns. And seeing that he’s getting better with every season, he’s clearly the cornerstone of this rebuild.