CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WSPA) – With the assistance of a panel of voters from ESPN, The Athletic, AP, Charlotte Observer and the Carolina Panthers Radio Community/WBT, the 7Sports Crew has compiled a listing of the highest ten Carolina Panthers of all time.
Seven reporters from nationwide and native publications/broadcast stations offered their high ten rankings. A tally of all of the votes resulted on this remaining checklist.
See more: Famous panthers players of all time
Panel: David Newton (ESPN NFL Nation Panthers Beat Author), Joe Individual (The Athletic Panthers Beat Author), Steve Reed (The Related Press Panthers Beat Author), Scott Fowler (The Charlotte Observer Columnist), Jim Szoke (WBT Radio and Carolina Panthers Radio Community Broadcaster), Pete Yanity (WSPA Sports activities Director), and Todd Summers (WSPA Sports activities Reporter/Anchor).
NOTE: All stats are courtesy of Professional Soccer Reference/All-Professional honors per AP Voting
With out additional ado, listed below are the highest ten Panthers of all time.
#10 Christian McCaffrey
Christian McCaffrey got here to the Panthers because the workforce’s first-round choice at #8 general within the 2017 NFL Draft. With Jonathan Stewart nonetheless within the combine, McCaffrey was relegated to a limited-time position, however made probably the most of his touches in his rookie season and in 2018 he grew to become the workforce’s featured runner, dashing for over 1,000 yards and scoring 7 touchdowns on the bottom. He mixed that with 107 catches for 867 yards and a further 8 touchdowns. He was a dual-threat operating again in each sense of the time period. And amazingly, he was about to high that efficiency in 12 months three.
In 2019, McCaffrey continued on his upward trajectory tallying 1,387 yards and 15 touchdowns to go together with 116 catches and 1,005 yards receiving and 4 scores. With that, McCaffery grew to become simply the third operating again in NFL historical past to achieve the one-thousand-yard mark in each dashing and receiving, becoming a member of Marshall Faulk and Roger Craig. Fairly good firm.
That earned McCaffrey first-team All-Professional honors in simply his third season with the workforce. An injury-riddled 2020 derailed his momentum, however he confirmed how essential he’s to the workforce by scoring six touchdowns in simply three video games performed. Being the youngest on this checklist, McCaffrey can proceed so as to add to his legacy in Carolina. However as of 2021 the voters already contemplate McCaffrey as one of many best Panthers of all time.
Christian McCaffrey Profession Stats
#9 Jake Delhomme
After going undrafted in 1997 Delhomme was signed by the New Orleans Saints. He spent a complete of two seasons in New Orleans, primarily as a apply squad participant, in between stints in NFL Europe. However after the 2002 season, Delhomme determined he wished a contemporary begin and an opportunity at changing into a franchise NFL quarterback. He acquired his likelihood with the Panthers.
The Panthers signed Delhomme to compete with incumbent Rodney Peete. Nevertheless it didn’t take lengthy for him to say the highest spot. At halftime of the 2003 season-opener, the Panthers have been trailing 17-0 to the Jacksonville Jaguars and turned to Delhomme for the second half. Behind Delhomme’s three passing touchdowns, Carolina got here again to win and the job now belonged to Jake Delhomme. It was simply one in all eight game-winning drives he engineered that season, together with the playoffs.
Delhomme helped lead the Panthers to an 11-5 report that season and a division title. What adopted was a spectacular postseason run that included a double-overtime win over the Rams then a dismantling of the top-seeded Philadelphia Eagles to advance to the primary Tremendous Bowl in franchise historical past. And though they misplaced to the New England Patriots in Tremendous Bowl 38, Delhomme performed nice on the large stage throwing for over 300 yards and three scores to no interceptions. They by no means made it again throughout his tenure, however Delhomme’s efficiency that season earned him a five-year $42.5 million deal to be the workforce’s franchise quarterback, cementing his legacy in a Panther uniform.
Jake Delhomme Profession Stats
#8 Jordan Gross
Jordan Gross got here to the Panthers as their Eighth-overall choose within the 2003 NFL Draft. He stepped proper into the beginning lineup and by no means seemed again over the course of the following 11 seasons. Typically thought-about to be the perfect left sort out in Panthers historical past, Gross displayed nice flexibility alongside the offensive line. He was simply as productive at proper sort out, which is the place he began his rookie season. It was adequate to earn him a spot on the 2003 All-Rookie Crew. He switched between the 2 positions once in a while, however performed the overwhelming majority of snaps at LT from there on out, serving as the first protector of Jake Delhomme’s blind aspect in addition to Cam Newton’s.
The epitome of reliability, Gross began all however eight video games in his profession and dedicated a mere 11 holding penalties. He was a significant a part of the Panthers typically rating within the high ten within the league in sacks surrendered in the course of the 2000s, and even acquired in on the motion once in a while as he recovered seven fumbles. A 3-time Professional Bowler and 2008 first-team All-Professional, Gross stays one of many best to ever placed on a Panther uniform.
Jordan Gross Profession Accolades
#7 Greg Olsen
Greg Olsen was a first-round choice by the Chicago Bears in 2007 and got here to the Panthers through a commerce in 2011. Carolina gave up a third-round choose for the ‘07 All-Rookie Crew choice, which turned out to be an absolute steal for the Panthers. Olsen hadn’t but entered his prime on the time, and got here to the Panthers simply as they’d acquired quarterback Cam Newton from Auburn. It was excellent timing.
Olsen recorded no less than 5 touchdowns in every of his first 5 seasons with Carolina. And his greatest stretch got here from 2014-2016 through which he was chosen to three-straight Professional Bowls and cleared 1,000 yards receiving every year, changing into the primary tight finish to attain such a feat. Throughout his 9 seasons with the Panthers, Olsen recorded 524 receptions for six,463 yards and 39 touchdowns. He was a fantastic security blanket for Newton, and will stretch the sphere in methods few on the place might. He sits atop the checklist of Carolina tight ends and ranks third in workforce historical past in catches and yards. On high of that, the not too long ago retired Olsen ranks fifth amongst all tight ends in NFL historical past in each yards and receptions.
Greg Olsen Profession Stats
#6 Thomas Davis Sr.
Thomas Davis III entered the NFL because the Carolina Panthers’ 14th-overall choice within the 2005 draft. What adopted was greater than a decade of constant, dependable play from the three-time Professional Bowler.
He entered the league as a hybrid security out of Georgia, however the workforce rapidly realized his potential at linebacker. After a restricted position in his rookie season, Davis grew to become a full-time exterior linebacker in 2006. His greatest season, although, got here within the 2010s. From 2012 to 2016 Davis recorded no less than 100 tackles in every season and had seven interceptions in a two-year span. He was chosen to his solely three Professional Bowls in succession (‘15-’17). All of this got here after he suffered three ACL tears in the identical knee from 2009 to 2011. He stays the one participant to return from three such accidents to the identical knee.
Over the course of his profession, Davis fashioned top-of-the-line linebacker corps within the NFL alongside Luke Kuechly. Davis is the franchise chief in solo tackles with 789 and recorded 18 pressured fumbles in addition to 13 interceptions. Not solely was his impression felt on the sphere for 13 seasons in Charlotte, however he was beloved in the neighborhood as effectively. He created the Thomas Davis Defending Desires Basis (TDDDF) which promoted free applications to assist hundreds of underprivileged youth together with back-to-school giveaways, amongst others. His efforts in giving again earned him the 2014 Walter Payton Man of the 12 months Award.
#5 Sam Mills
As an undrafted participant out of Montclair State Faculty, Sam Mills ended up carving out fairly a profitable profession within the NFL. After an preliminary stint with Cleveland, Mills went on to play within the CFL earlier than returning to the NFL and spending 9 profitable seasons with the Saints. He in the end signed with the Panthers as a free agent of their inaugural 1995 season.
Mills endeared himself to Charlotte proper out of the gate, sealing the franchise’s first win by intercepting a shovel go from Jets quarterback Bubby Brister and returning it for a landing. Between 1995 and 1997, Mills had a few of his greatest seasons as a professional regardless of being on the tail finish of his profession. He recorded a career-high 5 interceptions in 1995 and was chosen to his fifth Professional Bowl in 1996, changing into the oldest participant on the time (34) to earn the dignity. He was additionally named a first-team All-Professional choice for the primary time in his profession that season. He retired from the league following the 1997 season and completed with over 1,200 complete tackles.
Though he spent the shortest period of time with the group among the many gamers on this checklist, Mills greater than makes up for it with the impression he had on a model new franchise. And he transitioned to teaching after his taking part in profession, changing into a member of the Panthers employees. His 2005 loss of life following a bout with most cancers was a big emotional blow to the workforce and its fan base. The person who coined the workforce’s mantra ‘Preserve Pounding,’ Sam Mills is checked out even to this present day as the best Carolina Panther. His statue stands tall exterior of Financial institution of America Stadium.
Sam Mills Profession Stats
#4 Luke Kuechly
Luke Kuechly was taken ninth general by the Panthers within the 2012 NFL Draft. The extremely touted all-purpose linebacker out of Boston Faculty grew to become an on the spot fixture on the workforce’s protection in his rookie marketing campaign. Kuechly was named the 2012 Defensive Rookie of the 12 months after posting a league-leading 164 mixed tackles and two interceptions. It was instantly obvious that Kuechly was one of many higher gamers at his place within the NFL, and he continued on that monitor the next season as he was named the 2013 NFL Defensive Participant of the 12 months. In ‘13 Kuechly recorded 156 complete tackles, 4 interceptions, and two sacks. That season, the Panthers have been the league’s second-best protection in factors per sport and complete yards allowed with Kuechly serving because the anchor and chief of the unit.
In simply eight seasons Kuechly made seven professional bowls, was a five-time first-team All-Professional choice, hauled in 18 interceptions and tallied over one thousand complete tackles. Although his profession was in the end a brief one on account of his retirement after the 2019 season Kuechly made an indelible mark on the franchise, was among the many league’s best linebackers throughout his complete tenure, and ends his profession with corridor of fame credentials.
Luke Kuechly Profession Stats
#3 Cam Newton
Cam Newton was chosen by the Panthers first general within the 2011 NFL Draft. The expectation was that the Auburn product would turn into a franchise quarterback for years to return, and would lead the workforce to the Tremendous Bowl. In his rookie season Newton was chosen to the Professional Bowl and earned ‘Rookie of the 12 months’ honors, finishing 60% of his passes for over 4,000 yards and 21 touchdowns. The Panthers completed simply 6-10, but it surely was obvious they’d an rising expertise below heart. His most achieved season got here in 2015 as he led Carolina to a 15-1 report and an look in Tremendous Bowl 50, the workforce’s second ever look within the massive sport and first since 2003. That 12 months, Newton received the NFL MVP Award as he mixed for 45 complete touchdowns. The Panthers misplaced to Denver, nevertheless, 24-10 on the large stage.
From 2011-2019 Newton threw 182 touchdowns and ran for an additional 58 scores. He handed for over 29,000 yards and totaled practically 5,000 yards dashing, establishing himself as top-of-the-line twin risk quarterbacks of his technology, maybe all time. He holds a number of franchise information to go together with his accolades. The three-time professional bowler went 68-55-1 throughout his time in Carolina earlier than signing with the New England Patriots forward of the 2020 season. Due to his particular person accomplishments, his general impression on the game and the group, in addition to his skill to steer the workforce to a different Tremendous Bowl, Newton goes down as one of many best to ever go well with up for the Panthers.
Cam Newton Profession Stats
#2 Julius Peppers
Julius Peppers was taken by the Panthers with the second-overall choose within the 2002 NFL Draft. Like many on this checklist, Peppers’ transition to the NFL was seamless. He recorded 12 sacks, 5 pressured fumbles and one interception in simply twelve video games performed in his rookie season. It was adequate to earn him NFL Defensive Rookie of the 12 months honors. A exceptional mixture of measurement, velocity and athleticism, Peppers went on to make the Professional Bowl 5 occasions in his remaining six seasons with the Panthers (‘04-’09) earlier than signing elsewhere.
Peppers signed with Chicago as a free agent previous to the 2010 season and performed seven seasons with the Bears and Packers earlier than returning to Carolina for the 2017-2018 seasons. In complete he performed 154 video games in ten seasons with Carolina, recording 97 sacks, 107 tackles for loss, and 34 pressured fumbles. He was a two-time first-team All-Professional throughout his time in Charlotte, and is the franchise chief in profession sacks with 29.5 greater than the following participant on the checklist (Charles Johnson).
Given all of his accomplishments and years of dominance on the place, Peppers will undoubtedly have his bust in Canton. He’s a member of the Professional Soccer Corridor of Fame All-Decade Crew for each the 2000s and 2010s.
Julius Peppers Profession Stats
#1 Steve Smith
Steve Smith was taken within the third spherical of the 2001 NFL Draft because the 74th-overall choice by the Carolina Panthers. That choose turned out to be top-of-the-line steals of the draft. Seldom used as a receiver in his rookie season, Smith was utilized primarily as a return specialist and excelled in that space. He scored twice on kickoff returns and as soon as on a punt return incomes him a spot on the 2001 All-Rookie Crew and within the Professional Bowl.
After his rookie marketing campaign he took on an expanded position as a receiver and by no means seemed again. He had his first one-thousand-yard season in 2003 because the Panthers superior all the way in which to the Tremendous Bowl for the primary time in franchise historical past. After breaking his leg within the 2004 season-opener, Smith had his greatest statistical season the next 12 months, rebounding with a stellar 103-1563-12 line and main the NFL in all three classes.
After 13 seasons with the Panthers, Smith spent his remaining three years within the NFL with the Baltimore Ravens earlier than retiring after the 2016 season. He completed his profession because the Panthers all-time main receiver in catches, yards and touchdowns. As of 2021, he ranks twelfth in NFL historical past with 1,031 receptions and Eighth in receiving yards with 14,731. He’s a five-time professional bowler and two-time first-team All-Professional.
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