After months of completely flipping around players and coaching staff, the Panthers have their final 53-man roster. Fans hope that this group will be the one to set Carolina back on track after years of mediocrity. After continual disappointment, especially on the offensive side of the ball, there finally seems to be reason to believe in this team. Let’s take a look at the 24 players who make up the 2023-24 Carolina Panthers offense.
- Bryce Young (22, First Season)
- Andy Dalton (35, Thirteenth Season)
2023 will be Bryce Young’s first season in the NFL. The Panthers have attempted to load the rest of the offense with proven talent in order to give him the best chance possible at succeeding in his rookie year. The 2021 Heisman winner was incredible during his time at Alabama, and proved himself worthy of being the first player off the board in his draft class. The Panthers made him exactly that in April, trading up eight places to take him.
Young will hopefully start through all of his rookie season, but the Panthers also have a great backup in place. A 13-year veteran at the position, Andy Dalton is one of the best possible backups you could ask for. He played in New Orleans last season, starting in 14 of their 17 games. Now he’ll play the role of a mentor for Young, while also remaining ready should he find himself on the field again.
- Miles Sanders (26, Fifth Season)
- Chuba Hubbard (24, Third Season)
- Raheem Blackshear (25, Second Season)
In their first full season without Christian McCaffrey, the Panthers will be turning to a proven running back to bolster the offense. After four years in Philadelphia, Miles Sanders joined the Panthers during this year’s free agency period.
The Penn State product ran for a career-high 1,269 yards last season while averaging 4.9 yards a carry. We can also expect to see an uptick in receiving work for Sanders as he joins a new offense. A big part of his decision to come to Carolina was to reunite with running backs coach Duce Staley, who he believes gets the best out of him.
Alongside Sanders will be Chuba Hubbard and Raheem Blackshear. Hubbard has been productive in the absence of McCaffrey over the last two seasons, totaling 1,078 rushing yards. He’s also rushed for seven touchdowns, and caught an additional one. As for Blackshear, he only had 23 carries for 77 yards in his rookie year, but could carve out a more consistent role this season.
- Adam Thielen (33, Tenth Season)
- DJ Chark Jr. (26, Sixth Season)
- Jonathan Mingo (22, First Season)
- Terrace Marshall Jr. (23, Third Season)
- Laviska Shenault Jr. (24, Fourth Season)
- Ihmir Smith-Marsette (24, Third Season)
After trading DJ Moore in order to move up and get Bryce Young, the Panthers have fully reloaded their receiving core. Their top two guys will likely be the veteran duo of Adam Thielen and DJ Chark. After nine years with the Vikings, Thielen is switching teams for the first time in his career by joining the Panthers. He’s been a proven receiver, even up to last year, hauling in 534 catches for 6,682 yards during his time in Minnesota.
It’s a different story for Chark, who will be joining his third team in three years. He’s only played a combined 15 games over the last two seasons, but should have a large role if he can stay healthy. Jonathan Mingo and Terrace Marshall will be the youngest receivers on the team. Mingo will look to prove himself in year one, while the Panthers hope Marshall can finally capitalize on the potential they drafted him for in 2021.
As for Laviska Shenault and Ihmir Smith-Marsette, they’re set to be the speedsters of the receiver room. The Panthers traded for Shenault on Aug. 29, 2022, and Smith-Marsette on Aug. 29, 2023. While neither projects to have a consistent major role on the team, they both have extreme big play potential.
- Hayden Hurst (30, Sixth Season)
- Ian Thomas (27, Sixth Season)
- Tommy Tremble (23, Third Season)
- Giovanni Ricci (26, Third Season)
The tight end position has been a weak spot for the Panthers ever since Greg Olsen’s departure in 2020. Frank Reich and company made sure to address it during the team’s active free agency run by signing Hayden Hurst.
Hurst has had stints with the Falcons and Bengals since being drafted by the Ravens in 2018. With a combination of Lamar Jackson, Matt Ryan and Joe Burrow throwing to him throughout his career, he’s racked up 1,718 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns. Now he’ll be a top option for Young in his rookie season.
Behind Hurst the Panthers have Ian Thomas and Tommy Tremble. Both were drafted by Carolina, but neither has been able to make a major impact thus far in their career. With the main tight end spot being locked down, they could be freed up to make a bigger impact. The team also has Giovanni Ricci, the Western Michigan alumni who made the transition from fullback after the 2021 season.
- Taylor Moton (29, Seventh Season)
- Ikem Ekwonu (22, Second Season)
- Brady Christensen (26, Third Season)
- Bradley Bozeman (28, Sixth Season)
- Cade Mays (24, Second Season)
- Chandler Zavala (24, First Season)
- Ricky Lee (23, First Season)
- Nash Jensen (24, First Season)
- Calvin Throckmorton (27, Third Season)
The biggest weakness of the preseason by far was the offensive line. They struggled to protect the quarterback and played a massive role in the winless three game stretch. Now heading into meaningful games, they’ll have to up their performance.
On either end of the line will be the tackles, Taylor Moton and Ikem Ekwonu. Moton is one of the longest-tenured players on the roster and has proven himself over the years, while Ekwonu will be entering his second season. He impressed as a rookie, but will need to make a leap in year two in order to elevate the offense as a whole.
The starting guards will be Brady Christensen and Cade Mays. Christensen is a full-time starter, while Mays will be on the main unit until Austin Corbett returns from his ACL injury. If Mays underperforms, rookies Chandler Zavala and Nash Jensen could end up filling in at right guard. Ricky Lee or Calvin Throckmorton could also find themselves on the main line in the case of a shakeup.
As for the center spot, second-year Panther Bradley Bozeman will hold down the position after signing a new deal this offseason. Panthers fans are holding their breath regarding this unit, hoping they can protect the team’s hopeful franchise quarterback.
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Featured image courtesy of the Carolina Panthers.
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