One of Carolina’s starting defensive ends, Brian Burns, has impressed fans and coaches with his second-year improvement, acting as a rare cause for excitement for this unit. At training camp, the most prominent battle for the defensive line features a veteran and a rookie to decide who will start on the opposite side of Burns.

Stephen Weatherly (6-foot-5, 265 pounds) is a five-year veteran in the NFL, formerly playing with the Minnesota Vikings from 2016 to 2019. This offseason, he signed a two-year deal with Carolina worth about $12.5 million, adding another unfamiliar face to a team filled with the most new players in the league. Weatherly didn’t stay unknown for long, though, impressing fans with his many quirks and high praise for teammates like Burns, who compared him to Danielle Hunter.

Yetur Gross-Matos (6-foot-5, 265 pounds) was selected by the Panthers with the 34th overall pick in the 2020 draft. He might be the most underrated member of this all-defense draft class. Head coach Matt Rhule and general manager Marty Hurney told the team website on draft day that they didn’t think Gross-Matos would fall out of the first round, adding that they were “really ecstatic” about him.

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