Panthers: Youth movement in effect
In 2012 they drafted Luke Kuechly, Amini Silatolu, Frank Alexander, Josh Norman, and Brad Nortman. Silatolu started 15 games and played 93% of offensive snaps. Kuechly started all 16 games, played 88% of snaps, and won Defensive Rookie of the Year. Norman started 12 games playing on 88% of snaps, with Alexander playing 52% of snaps. Nortman has been their punter ever since Week 1 of 2012.
In 2013 they drafted Star Lotulelei and Kawann Short while signing Melvin White after the draft. Lotulelei started all 17 games while playing 61% of snaps. White started 10 games and was on the field 77% of the time, with Short contributing on nearly 51% of snaps.
All of these players are still contributors this season, yet the heavy reliance on rookies has continued. Kelvin Benjamin has taken over as the No. 1 wide out, playing 89% of offensive snaps. Trai Turner has played 64% of the teams snaps at right guard, Bene Benwikere is the team’s primary slot cornerback, and undrafted free agent, Philly Brown has been serving as the return man.