Jeremy Brevard/USA Today

Carolina Panthers vs. Baltimore Ravens: 3 Players on Defense to Watch

The Carolina Panthers will have plenty of new faces on defense in 2016. These are three players fans should pay extra attention to during the first preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens.

Vernon Butler

The big first round defensive tackle has not gotten off to a great start with the Carolina Panthers. Recently, head coach Ron Rivera called Butler a "work in progress" and can help his case Thursday night against the Baltimore Ravens.

There is no question that he has the physical attributes to be an excellent defensive tackle however technique and learning the nuisances of the position will be critical.

The defensive tackle position is incredibly competitive and Butler will be fighting for that spot alongside Paul Soliai, backing up the starters. This game against the Ravens will help him make the case for being that primary backup on this defense.

Ryan Delaire

The Panthers defensive end position is a bit banged up with Wes Horton suffering a wrist injury and Larry Webster dealing with a hamstring injury. This could present a great opportunity for Delaire to not only get extended playing time but make a big impression on the coaching staff.

Delaire joined the Panthers prior to their first game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and had an immediate impact with two sacks against one of his former teams. However, his playing time and his production took a major hit as the season carried on.

This year, Delaire could move his way up the depth chart and potentially grab that backup spot behind Kony Ealy and Charles Johnson. He will need to have a big game against the Ravens to set himself apart.

James Bradberry

Realistically, any of the three rookie cornerbacks could have their name here. This will be their first opportunity to see some real game-action and prove they should be a starter on this defense.

On the first unofficial depth charts for the Panthers, this was exactly the case as Bradberry and Daryl Worley, were the top cornerbacks on the depth chart. However, veteran Bene Benwikere is still trying to knock some of the rust off from a leg injury he suffered last year. If these rookies don't produce, he could be in line for a starting job.

This will be a great opportunity for Bradberry to get a feel for game speed and facing other wide receivers and quarterbacks. A strong game here will certainly help his case for starting in the Panthers' first regular season game against the Denver Broncos.

Twitter @BrandonCroce

Follow us on Twitter @PanthersonScout and like our page on Facebook.


Panther Insider Top Stories