What linebacker prospects should the Carolina Panthers monitor extremely closely during the 2022 college football season?
In their relatively short history, the Carolina Panthers have been known for having great linebackers in their 28 years of existence.
The list is lengthy with names that include Luke Kuechly, Dan Morgan, Sam Mills, Thomas Davis, and Jon Beason. For almost every era of Panthers football, there is at least one or two linebackers that made an incredible impact on their respective teams.
In the David Tepper era, fans of the organization saw the sudden end to Kuechly’s career. With the future Pro Football Hall of Famer gone, the torch was passed down to veteran Shaq Thompson, who has become a vocal leader on a young, yet talented defense.
Despite the organization’s many struggles last season, Thompson emerged as a cornerstone piece for the front seven and showed great play in both the run game and coverage. However, the rest of the linebacker room played wildly inconsistent throughout and the front office did little to improve the position.
Even after drafting Penn State’s Brandon Smith in the fourth round and re-signing Frankie Luvu, the linebacker position still looks underwhelming on paper. Unless someone takes a huge step forward this season next to Thompson, the Panthers need to start looking for better talent at the position, specifically through the 2023 NFL Draft.
Yes, the draft is eight months away. Even so, early indications suggest that middle linebacker could be one of the better groups in the potential class.
Without further ado, here are four linebacker prospects that the Panthers should keep a close eye on throughout the upcoming college football season.