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Ranking the dawgs on the Panthers’ roster

In what will assuredly become a thing amongst Carolina Panthers fans in 2024, new president of football operations and general manager Dan Morgan put the call out for some dawgs this past Thursday. Heck, it may already be a thing—as his partner in crime and new head coach Dave Canales just answered said call with an actual canine.

But before Morgan and Canales go search for more, let’s identify and rank the roster’s current dawgs following the 2023 campaign.

5. OLB Brian Burns

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Many folks wouldn’t have blamed Burns had he held out after being denied of a contract extension. But he didn’t, and it wasn’t easy.

The two-time Pro Bowler never seemed to be 100 percent healthy in 2023. On top of his offseason ankle surgery, Burns battled elbow and knee injuries as well as a concussion.

Ultimately, that toughness didn’t translate into the most productive campaign of his career. But he still, while playing in 16 of 17 games, finished with team-bests in sacks (8.0), quarterback hits (18) and tackles for a loss (15).

4. CB Donte Jackson

Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports

Speaking of fighting through injuries, this dawg made one heck of a comeback from a devastating setback.

Jackson had his 2022 season cut painfully short, as he tore his Achilles tendon in Carolina’s Week 10 matchup against the Atlanta Falcons. The sixth-year veteran admitted to the physical and mental anguish of his road to recovery, but made it back to play in 16 games this past season.

He was quite solid as well, registering his third-highest Pro Football Focus grades for overall defense (64.3) and coverage (66.6).

3. OT Taylor Moton

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Moton, in a unit that’s experienced a startling amount of turnover in the past handful of years, has been a pillar.

The rock-solid right tackle literally has not missed a single offensive snap over the last four seasons, playing in each of the group’s 4,337 plays since 2020. And he wasn’t too far off from making that a six-year run, having appeared in 99.5 percent of the offense’s snaps in both 2018 and 2019.

He’s now played in 115 consecutive games for the Panthers, the third-longest streak in franchise history.

2. LB Frankie Luvu

Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

You won’t find many players in the NFL, let alone in Carolina, that have as much desire to get after it.

Whether he’s sniffing out a ball carrier or rushing the quarterback, Luvu feels like the football equivalent of a heat-seeking missile. “Uce,” over the past two seasons, has recorded 236 tackles, 12.5 sacks and 110 stops.

1. DT Derrick Brown

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Opposing players are never safe from Brown, who has shown he’ll chase you down on the field or into an X-ray room.

The 6-foot-5, 320-pounder played in a ridiculous 89.1 percent of defensive snaps in 2023. He parlayed that presence into an NFL-record 103 tackles by a defensive lineman while leading all players at his position in stops (53), run stop wins (160) and run stop win rate (47 percent).

Honorable mention

Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union
Corey Perrine/Florida Times-Union
  • QB Bryce Young: The 5-foot-10, 200-pound rookie absorbed the second-most sacks in the league, but missed just one game.

  • OT Ikem Ekwonu: Once played a Dalmatian.

  • S Xavier Woods: He lays the wood regularly.

  • P Johnny Hekker: How many punters have you seen head-butt a linebacker?

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Story originally appeared on Panthers Wire