Over the course of the next few weeks, we will be taking a look at each position group and giving our way-too-early depth chart projections. Today, we move on to the defensive ends.
Starters - Brian Burns, Yetur Gross-Matos
Brian Burns has turned into one of the young elite pass rushers in the game, yet no one talks about him as such. His spin move is becoming deadly and the more he masters it, the tougher it's going to be for opposing offensive tackles to keep him away from their quarterback. Through his first two seasons, Burns has accounted for 83 tackles, 37 QB hits, 16.5 sacks, 13 tackles for loss, and four forced fumbles.
Yetur Gross-Matos was drafted early in the 2nd round a year ago but unfortunately, he dealt with several different injuries throughout the year that caused him to miss some time. He came on strong at the end of the year which was a good sign for defensive coordinator Phil Snow. If he can live up to his potential, the Panthers are going to have one of the best pass-rushing duos in the league. Of course, having a normal offseason of workouts should be beneficial for his growth and understanding of the defense.
Backups - Morgan Fox, Marquis Haynes Sr.
Morgan Fox's role has increased each year he has been in the league. During his four years with the Los Angeles Rams, Fox totaled 69 tackles, 17 QB hits, 14 tackles for loss, and 10.5 sacks. He will likely be the first defensive end to be rotated into the game as he looks to build off of his career-high six sack season in 2020.
Haynes didn't have a significant role on the Panthers' defense a year ago but made the most of his limited opportunities. He racked up four sacks while only appearing in 37% of all defensive snaps and the familiarity of the defense gives him a slight edge over Fox heading into training camp.
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