Carolina Panthers Position Analysis: Defensive End

The Carolina Panthers were able to bring back veteran Charles Johnson however the future of the position appears to be on Kony Ealy's shoulders. Brandon Croce breaks down the defensive end position for the Carolina Panthers.

Carolina Panthers Defensive Ends

Name Height Weight College
Mario Addison 6-3 260 Troy
Rakim Cox 6-4 275 Villanova
Ryan Delaire 6-4 265 Towson
Kony Ealy 6-4 275 Missouri
Wes Horton 6-5 265 USC
Charles Johnson 6-2 275 Georgia
Arthur Miley 6-6 270 Southern
Larry Webster 6-6 275 Bloomsburg

Training Camp Battles

Rakim Cox vs. Ryan Delaire vs. Wes Horton vs. Arthur Miley

The top three spots on the depth chart are pretty well set with Charles JohnsonKony Ealy and Mario Addison. The questions lies in who will round out the rest of the position.

I believe there are two spots up for grabs after the top three and it will come down to Rakim CoxRyan DelaireWes Horton and Arthur Miley.

Horton has the most experience with the Panthers after they signed him as an undrafted free agent in 2013. However, he was suspended last season for four games for violating the NFL Performance Enhancing Drug Policy and was waived by the Panthers after that suspension. The team did re-sign him to their practice squad and agreed to a one-year deal this offseason.

Meanwhile, Cox and Miley were signed last offseason but were one of the final cuts before the regular season. They both re-joined the team though and spent the 2015 season on the practice squad.

Delaire had the biggest impact out of all these players after the Panthers signed him off the Redskins' practice squad. In his first game with the team, he recorded two sacks against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This should be a highly competitive training camp battle between these four players.

Player to Watch

Charles Johnson

The past two training camps have not gone well for the veteran defensive end. In 2014, Charles Johnson suffered a hamstring injury that forced him to miss a majority of the preseason, playing in only one game. Then this past training camp, he dealt with a trapezius injury as well as a calf strain.

The fact that he missed a lot of the past two training camps could have attributed to his slow start with only one sack combined during the first four games of the 2014 and 2015 seasons. This past season Johnson was placed on injured reserve and was forced to miss eight games. He finished the regular season with only one sack, which is well below what has been expected of him.

However, during the playoffs, Johnson returned to form and had a sack in each playoff game and recorded two forced fumbles.

The veteran defensive end will be 30 by the time training camp opens and this year he is playing for his next contract. The Panthers released Johnson earlier this offseason but he returned on a one-year deal. A strong season this year should open up the possibility of a multi-year deal.

Twitter @BrandonCroce

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