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10 Impact Players for the 2010 Season

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Matt Moore - Matt Moore's performance last year slammed the door on Jake Delhomme. This year we will see if that was a good decision. The Panthers drafted a younger insurance policy in Jimmy Clausen, but I don't believe he has a chance to challenge for a starting role based on Matt Moore nearly posting a QB rating of over 100. None the less, if Moore proves last year was a fluke, Clausen could find himself under center

Jon Beason - Jon Beason is coming off a Pro Bowl year. With the departure of Julius Peppers and the injury to Thomas Davis, he may see his tackle tally increase in 2010. Don't be surprised to see his sack total rise as well if the front four have trouble getting to the QB. For now, Beason is the undisputed backbone of the front seven.

Steve Smith - You don't have to make much of a case to include this guy on a list of impact players for any team. Steve Smith must be salivating with a QB upgrade in the works. Not only is he a consistent team leading receiver, he is a consistent threat that stretches the field every time he goes beyond 15 yards and opens up the running game for Stewart and Williams.

Richard Marshall - Cornerback Richard Marshall has made it official he's after a long term deal. The Panthers offered a tender and he took it. He will be trying to prove his worth this year. This extra motivation couldn't come at a better time for the team with the departure of feared pass rusher Julius Peppers. Marshall will try to prove he deserves a chunk of the change that Peppers frees up.

He should have a considerable number of passes thrown his way with Chris Gamble holding down the opposite corner. He was tied with Gamble for a team high four interceptions last year. This year his motivation will put him over the edge and he will lead the team.

Sherrod Martin - The Panthers traded Chris Harris back to the Bears as a gesture of faith towards Sherrod Martin. He will be under a lot of pressure to make that look like a well planned move. Sherrod is a young center fielder in a secondary who will have to cope with the loss of a ferocious pass rush off the edge, and will have to hang with receivers longer as a result. Luckily for him, he has two capable corners and a Nickelback in Captain Munnerlyn who have proven they can be of help.

Greg Hardy - You know those players that come out to the NFL and prove that you made a mistake passing over them? Well I think you're looking at the next one in Greg Hardy. Carolina doesn't have any stand-out defensive ends on their roster and I would bet that he will be starting on one side before the season is over. He was downgraded due to injury, and I think the risk associated with it is well overrated for a player of his age.

You heard it here first, you're looking at the 2010 Carolina Panthers sack leader.

Eric Norwood - With another injury to Thomas Davis, Eric Norwood is next in line to get in the game. I wouldn't be surprised to see him come in on short yardage to go situations, as he provides a little more bulk than either of the other two LB's. On a team that plays lighter defensive ends, he may provide a better fit in any situation.


Chris Gamble - ???

DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart - You can't talk about impact players on the Panthers without mentioning these two. Deangelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart were the only 2 backs on the same team to post 1000 yards rushing on the same team. These 2 are the backbone of the Carolina Pathers success. By the average yard per carry, if either one of these guys got the all of the carries last season, he would have broken Eric Dickerson's record for most rushing yards in a season.

They present a strong argument for the best backfield tandem in the NFL. I look for Carolina to continue to have a top 5

There was nothing printed about Gamble, curiously. Personally, I question his one-on-one tackling ability.

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