The Panthers plan on revamping a defense that gave up an average of 143.5 rushing yards per game in 2019. In order to do so, the front office had to address the defensive line. Derrick Brown and Kawann Short will likely be the headlining defensive tackles in Phil Snow's defense. The defensive interior appears to be impressive, but who will be setting the edge of the line of scrimmage for this rebuilding defensive line? After having an impressive rookie season, Brian Burns will probably start as an edge rusher, but the other side of the line could potentially be an area of uncertainty.
One of the most important additions to this position group came from the signing of Stephen Weatherly. Weatherly saw limited playing time in Minnesota, but his production was noticeable with six sacks over the past couple of years, as well as 59 combined tackles and two forced fumbles. Weatherly has experience on his side along with a limited amount of wear and tear, so the Panthers picked him up at the perfect time. It also helps to know that he played as an edge rusher at Vanderbilt, which will be ideal for the system that defensive coordinator Phil Snow will have in place. His biggest competition seemingly comes from second round draft pick Yetur Gross-Matos.
Gross-Matos recorded 40 tackles (15 tackles for loss) and 9.5 sacks during his final year at Penn State. He is more of a traditional 4-3 player, so he may see some playing time in that specific front. Gross-Matos has a lot of upside for fans to be excited about. However, he is still a raw prospect who will have to experience some development before getting a chance to start in Carolina. Stephen Weatherly will likely be the starting EDGE for Gross-Matos to learn under.
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