The Carolina Panthers could start four rookies on defense against the Las Vegas Raiders this weekend. This should come as little surprise after the Panthers spent their entire 2020 NFL draft on defense.
Along the defensive line first and second round picks Derrick Brown and Yetur Gross-Matos will likely make their debut. Both players were known as two of the best run stuffers in all of college football. Along with KK Short and last season’s first round pick Brian Burns, this Carolina Panthers front four could prove to be formidable early in the season.
The other Panthers second round pick, rookie safety Jeremy Chinn, will likely start in the defensive backfield opposite Tre Boston. Panthers head coach Matt Rhule has glowed throughout training camp on Chinn’s versatility. Chinn may even line up as an outside linebacker or big nickel from time to time depending on the situation.
Finally, with veteran corner Eli Apple headed to injured reserve, 4th round pick Troy Pride Jr will likely start opposite Donte Jackson at corner. at 5’11 Pride has a size advantage over Jackson and could cover some of the taller receivers in the league. However, being a rookie, expect early struggles as the learning curve is climbed.
Starting four rookies on an entire team is rare in the NFL. Starting four on one side of the ball almost never happens. But hey, this is a rebuilding year for the Carolina Panthers. Might as well get those babies out of the bath water early against the Las Vegas Raiders this Sunday.
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