In 1995 The Carolina Panthers were one of the two expansion teams to join the league that year. They have played in two Super Bowls in their history. They played the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl in 2003 and the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl in 2015. The Panthers lost both games. Carolina has only retired one number in team history.
QB: Cam Newton (2011-19)
NFL Most Valuable Player 2015
The face of the Carolina Panthers franchise for years has been Cam Newton since they selected him first overall in 2011. The two might have separated this past offseason, but that doesn’t change the fact that Newton holds multiple franchise records. He is the leading passer in franchise history with 29,041yards and touchdown leader with 182. Newton also has the third-most rushing yards in franchise history with 4,806 and is the Panthers all-time rushing touchdown leader with 58. He was rookie of the year in 2011 and a three-time Pro Bowler. In 2015 Newton won league MVP, Offensive Player of the Year, was a First-Team All-Pro, and led the 15-1 Carolina Panthers to the Super Bowl. Jake Delhomme was also the Panthers starting quarterback for seven years and was a Pro Bowler in 2005.
RB: DeAngelo Williams (2006-14), Jonathan Stewart (2008-17)
It seems fitting that both DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart who shared a backfield together for years made this list together. Williams is second in franchise history in rushing yards with 6,846 yards and third in touchdowns with 46. He was a Pro Bowler in 2009 and was named a Second Team All-Pro in 2008. In 2008 he led the league in rushing touchdowns and he did it again in 2015 during his time with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Two years after picking Williams in the first round the Panthers selected Stewart in the first round. Stewart the franchise leader in rushing yards with 7,318 yards and second in touchdowns with 51. His only Pro Bowl appearance came in 2015 after he became the team’s primary running back.
FB: Mike Tolbert (2012-16)
For much of the 2010s, Mike Tolbert was considered one of the best fullbacks in the league. He was a three-time Pro Bowler and two-time First-Team All-Pro. Though the duties of present-day fullbacks are primarily just to block, Tolbert was a threat to get into the end zone during goal-line situations.
WR: Steve Smith Sr. (2001-13), Muhsin Mohammad (1996-2004, 2008-09)
Future Hall of Famer Steve Smith Sr. is the Carolina Panthers all-time receiving yardage and touchdown leader. He had 12,197 yards and 67 touchdowns during his time with the team. Smith is five-time Pro Bowler, two-time First-Team All-Pro and Second-Team All-Pro in 2008. In 2005, Smith was the NFL Comeback Player of the Year after breaking his leg the previous season. That year he led the league in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns. Smith is also a member of the Carolina Panthers Hall of Honor.
Seemingly number two in Panthers history as far as every receiving stat goes is Muhsin Mohammad. Mohammad had 9,255 yards and 67 touchdowns during his terms with the Carolina Panthers. Those are both second in franchise history. He was a two-time Pro Bowler and the receptions leader in 2000. In 2004 Mohammad led the league in touchdowns and receiving yards which earned him a First-Team All-Pro selection.
FLEX: Christian McCaffrey (2017-Present)
Though he has only been in the league for a short period of time is hard to discount how dominant Christian McCaffrey has been for the Panthers. In a short period of time, McCaffrey has the fifth-most rushing yards and fourth most rushing touchdowns in team history. He also has the sixth most receiving yards and eight most reaching touchdown ever for a Carolina Panther. McCaffrey’s stats read as 2,920 rushing yards, 24 rushing touchdowns, 2,523 receiving yards and 15 receiving touchdowns. He is also one of three players in NFL history to have 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in the same season, which he did last season. That earned him his first Pro Bowl appearance and two First-Team All-Pros (RB & Flex). He was also a Second-Team All-Pro the year prior in 2018.
TE: Greg Olsen (2011-19), Wesley Walls (1996-2002)
Greg Olsen could very well be a Hall of Famer when it is all said and done. Olsen became the Panthers’ true number one receiver once Steve Smith was released. He was a Pro Bowler from 2014-16 and was a Second Team All-Pro in 2015 & 2016. Olsen had the third-most receiving yards in Carolina Panthers history with 6,463 and the fourth most receiving touchdowns with 39. He also has the fifth-most receiving yards in NFL history by a tight end.
It was hard to leave Wesley Walls off this list because he was a five-time Pro Bowler and four-time All-Pro during his time with the Panthers. He has the fourth-most receiving yards in franchise history with 3,902 and third-most receiving touchdowns with 44. Walls was a Super Bowl Champion during his time with the San Fransisco 49ers and is a member of the Panthers Hall of Honor.
LT: Jordan Gross (2003-13)
There is little to no doubt that Jordan Gross is the best-left tackle in Carolina Panthers’ history. Gross is a three-time Pro Bowler, a First-Team All-Pro in 2008, and a member of the Panther Hall of Honor. The Panthers still have not found a long term replacement for Gross since he retired.
LG: Travelle Wharton (2004-11,2013)
Though Travelle Wharton never received any individual achievements but was a starter for the Panthers offensive line for a long time. The Carolina native started for the Panthers for eight straight seasons and then one more in 2013.
C: Ryan Kalil (2007-18)
Ryan Kalil was one of the best centers in the league during the duration of his career. He was a five-time Pro Bowler, two-time First-Team All-Pro and Second-Team All-Pro in 2011.
RG: Trai Turner (2014-19)
One of the most underrated offensive linemen in all of football is Trai Turner. Turner has been a Pro Bowler for five straight years, from 2015-19. It was shocking to see the Carolina Panther trade away Turner in the prime of his career.
RT: Daryl Williams (2015-19)
Daryl Williams was a versatile offensive lineman for the Carolina Panthers. He became the Panthers full time starting right tackle in 2017 and was a Second-Team All-Pro that year.
DE: Julius Peppers (2002-2009, 2017-2018), Charles Johnson (2007-17)
The Carolina Panthers drafted Julius Peppers with the second overall pick in 2002. In his first year in the league, he logged 12 sacks in 12 games and took home the Defensive Rookie of the Year award. He was a five-time Pro Bowler during his time with the Panthers (nine times overall). Peppers was also a four-time All-Pro with the Panthers as well (six times overall). He is a member of the NFL’s 2000s and 2010s All-Decade Teams. Peppers is the Panthers all-time leader in sacks with 97 and has the fourth most sacks in NFL history with 159.5. He also is the Panthers leader in tackles for loss (107) and forced fumbles (34). Peppers has the third most quarterback hits (89), sixth-most passes defended (50) and seventh-most tackles (349) in franchise history. It’s only a matter of time until Peppers is in the Hall of Fame.
Charles Johnson is right behind Peppers in sacks with 67.5. He actually has the most quarterback hits in Panthers history with 117. Johnson also ranks third in team history in forced fumbles with 17 and fourth in tackles for loss with 75. Two honorable mentions at the defensive end position for the Panthers are Mike Rucker and Mario Addison who have the third and fourth most sacks in franchise history.
DT: Kris Jenkins (2001-07), Kawaan Short (2013-Present)
Kris Jenkins might not be a household name but he was one of the best defensive ends to play for the Carolina Panthers throughout their history. Jenkins was a three-time Pro Bowler, two-time First-Team All-Pro and a Second Team All-Pro in 2008. He has the eighth-most tackles for loss in franchise history with 47 and 10th most sacks with 20.5.
Kawaan Short has been a dormant force on the Panthers defensive line for a while now. Short is a two-time Pro Bowler and was a Second Team All-Pro in 2015. He has the fourth most quarterback hits in franchise history (87), sixth-most tackles for loss (59), seventh-most sacks (32.5) and eighth most forced fumbles (9).
EDGE: Kevin Greene (1996,1998-99)
Pro Football Hall of Fame 2016
Kevin Greene might have only played for the Carolina Panthers for three seasons but he is fifth in franchise history in sacks with 41.5. Greene was a two-time Pro Bowler with the Panthers and five times over the course of his career. In 1996 Greene led the league in sacks for the second time which led him to be a First-Team All-Pro for the third time in his career. He also won Defensive Player of the Year in 1996 as well. Greene is a member of the NFL’s 1990s All-Decade Team and Pro Football Hall of Fame.
LB: Thomas Davis Sr. (2005-18), Jon Beason (2007-13), Luke Kuechly (2012-19)
For the past 15 years, the Carolina Panthers have had at least one Pro Bowl-caliber linebacker on their roster. Out of all three linebackers on this list, Thomas Davis Sr. is the only one still playing. Davis hit his stride later in his career making it to the Pro Bowl from 2015-17. He was also named a First-Team All-Pro in 2015 and Second-Team All-Pro in 2013. He is the franchise leader in tackles with 789. He is second in Panthers’ history in tackles for loss with 87 and forced fumbles with 18 and fourth-most passes defended with 52. Davis has the sixth most quarterback hits in franchise history with 59, seventh-most interceptions in Panthers history with 13, eighth all-time in Panthers’ history in sacks with 28 and quarterback hits
Two years after drafting Davis in the first round the Panthers took Jon Beason in the first round. Beason was a Pro Bowler from 2008-2010. He was also a First-Team All-Pro in 2008 and Second-Team All-Pro in 2009. Beason has the fourth most tackles in Carolina Panthers history with 444, 10th most tackles for loss with 32, and 12th most interceptions with 9.
Arguably the most dominant of the three linebackers, Luke Kuechly, was drafted in the first round by the Panthers in 2012. It is unfortunate that Kuechly had to retire early, but he had a fantastic career. Kuechly was one of the leagues elite players and was either the best or second-best linebacker in the league for almost the entirety of his career. Kuechly was a Pro Bowler for seven of the eight years of his career from 2013-19. He was a five-time First-Team All-Pro, two-time Second-Team All-Pro, and Defensive Player of the Year in his second season. He won Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2012 and led the league in tackles that year and in 2014. Kuechly is a member of the 2010s All-Decade Team and will one day become a member of the Hall of Fame. His 690 career tackles ranks second in Carolina Panthers’ history. Kuechly has the third most interceptions passes defended in team history with 18 interceptions and 66 passes defended. He also has the fourth most tackles for loss with 75, fifth-most tackles for loss with 75, eighth-most quarterback hits with 31, and ninth most forced fumbles with seven. Sam Mills deserves an honorable mention on this list. Mills played for the Panthers from 1995-1997 and was a Pro Bowler and First-Team All-Pro in 1996. He also is in the Panthers Hall of honor and has his number 51 retired by the team.
CB: Eric Davis (1996-2000), Chris Gamble (2004-12), Josh Norman (2012-15)
Eric Davis signed with the Carolina Panthers during their second year of existence. He was coming off a year where he was a Pro Bowler and First-Team All-Pro. During his time in Carolina Davis went to the Pro Bowl in 1996 and was a Second Team All-Pro in 1996 & 1997. Davis has the second-most interceptions in team history (25), tenth most forced fumbles (7) and eleventh most passes defended (42).
Chris Gamble’s 27 career interceptions are the most Carolina Panthers history. His rookie season Gamble had six which was tied for the lead in the NFC. He also has the most passes defended in franchise history with 98 and fifth-most tackles with 440.
Josh Norman had one of the greatest seasons of all time for a cornerback in 2015. He had four interceptions, two pick-sixes, three forced fumbles and quarterbacks had a 54.0 passer rating when they threw his way. He was a Pro Bowler and First-Team All-Pro that season. Throughout his career with the Panthers Norman had 36 passes defended which is 14th in franchise history and seventh interceptions which is 17th in franchise history. Captain Munnerlyn is an honorable mention who played seven years for the Panthers and has the most pick-sixes in franchise history with five.
S: Mike Minter (1997-2006), Charles Godfrey (2008-14)
Mike Minter has the second most passes defended in Panthers franchise history with 69 and pick-sixes with four. He also has the third-most tackles with 608, fourth-most interceptions with 17 and sixth most forced fumbles with 11.
Charles Godfrey has the tenth most interceptions in franchise history with 11 and tackles in franchise history with 291. Godfrey also has the 16th most passes defended in Panthers history with 33. He was a starter for the team for six years.
K: John Kasay (1995-2010)
John Kasay has scored the most points in Panthers history with 1,482. He was a Pro Bowler and All-Pro in 1996. Kasay was the Panthers kicker for the first 16 years of the franchise.
P: Todd Sauerbrun (2001-04)
Todd Sauerbrun might be second in franchise history in punting yards behind Jason Baker. But during his time with the Panthers Sauerbrun was a three-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro. Sauerbrun has 15,938 punting yards for the Panthers. While Bakers franchise record is 25,064 punting yards.
HC: Ron Rivera (2011-19)
Since 1995 there have only been six head coaches in the history of the Carolina Panthers including new head coach Matt Rhule. But the all-time winningest coach in the history of the franchise is Ron Rivera with 76 wins. He won AP Coach of the Year in 2013 and 2015. Rivera also coached the Panthers to a 15-1 record and Super Bowl appearance in 2015. Behind Rivera is John Fox who coached the team from 2002-10.