The Carolina Panthers are one of the youngest teams in the NFL. With only 26 years underneath their belt, one single decade nearly takes up half of their history. With that being said, today we will be looking at one of those halves, focusing specifically on the years between 2010 and 2019. This time period featured some of the brightest and darkest moments in Carolina Panthers history.
Complete with a trip to the Super Bowl, and nearly undefeated season and some of the best draft picks in Panthers history, this era of football in Charlotte had a little something for everyone. This decade, in particular, saw some of the best players in team history walk through the doors of Bank of America Stadium sporting the black and blue. With that being said, we here at Last Word on Pro Football have decided to look back on the last decade of Panthers football with pride and put together an all-decade team for the franchise. Today, we will be taking a look at the defensive side of the ball exclusively.
Carolina Panthers 2010s All-Decade Team – Defense
Defensive Tackle: Kawann Short, Star Lotulelei
Since entering the league in 2013, Kawann Short has been a force on the Panthers’ defensive line. The 6’3″, 315-pound Short has been terrorizing quarterbacks and opposing offensive linemen for years, earning him a Pro Bowl nod in 2015. Short’s incredible durability paired with his excellent play has made him an absolute monster for the Panthers. For that reason, his name appears on our list.
Star Lotulelei was also a force to be reckoned with during his time in Carolina. The dominant defensive tackle was instrumental in Carolina’s run defense and made quite the name for himself during his five years with the Panthers. Lotulelei totaled 11.5 sacks and 28 tackles during his time in Carolina, good enough to land himself a spot on this list.
Defensive End: Charles Johnson, Mario Addison
Charles Johnson is often called one of the best defensive ends in Carolina Panthers‘ history, and for good reason. Johnson was an absolute monster for the Panthers during the last decade, racking up more than 57 sacks during that period. Johnson currently sits at second all-time in sacks for the franchise and also has more forced fumbles than any other Panther from 2010-2019. With all that being said, Johnson definitely deserves to be on this list.
During his time in Carolina, Mario Addison made quite the name for himself. Addison currently ranks fourth all-time in Panthers’ history for sacks. As if that wasn’t impressive enough, there’s more. He also comes in at sixth in forced fumbles and seventh in tackles for loss. Addison was a monster for the Panthers during the last decade, notching a place for himself in Panthers’ history.
Addison’s aggressive and physical playstyle paired with his excellent motor made him a deadly weapon for the Panthers during his time in Carolina, which is why he’s appearing on this list.
Linebackers: Thomas Davis, Luke Kuechly, Shaq Thompson
Thomas Davis was an absolute monster on the field. During his time in Carolina, Davis brought a fire and passion for the game, unlike anything the squad had seen on the defensive side of the ball. Davis’ hard-hitting playstyle and warrior mentality made him a nightmare for offensive players to match-up with. Davis currently sits as the all-time leader in tackles for the Panthers. For this reason, Davis has made our list.
Often referred to as one of the smartest linebackers of all time, Luke Kuechly left a massive mark on the game. His immense football I.Q. paired with his incredible athleticism and leadership made him a superstar in the NFL and helped earn him the title of Pro-Bowler seven times. Kuechly was also named a First-Team All-Pro five times before deciding to retire in 2o2o.
Over the past few seasons, Shaq Thompson has slowly come into his own as a key piece of the Carolina Panthers’ defense. Early in his career, Thompson got to sit behind and learn from some of the best Panthers’ linebackers ever before taking the reins in 2020. Thompson has made a name quickly for himself in Carolina with his fast and physical play style. If Thompson can take his game to the next level in 2020, he many just solidify himself as one of the best Panthers’ linebackers to play the game.
Cornerback: James Bradberry, Josh Norman
Since being drafted in 2016, James Bradberry has been an impressive cornerback. While still having not been sent to his first Pro Bowl, Bradberry has quietly put together several successful seasons. His quiet nature and focused demeanor has intrigued many fans and analysts alike. While the Panthers opted to not re-sign the young corner in 2020, Bradberry left his mark on the Panthers during his time with the squad. For this reason, Bradberry has made our list.
Josh Norman is an interesting player. Although he had just one “great” season with the Panthers, his play was so excellent that season that his name simply must be found on this list. Norman’s 2015 campaign was nothing short of spectacular. Filled with heated rivalries and stunning plays, Norman’s 2015 season put him on the map. 2015 was often referred to as his “coming out” party. Following that season, Norman was selected to both the Pro Bowl and the First-Team All-Pro squads. With all that in mind, Norman clearly deserves a spot here.
Safety: Kurt Coleman, Tre Boston
Tre Boston was an instrumental piece of the Panthers’ 2015 defense. Playing with a fiery attitude and hard-hitting approach, Boston helped lead the Panthers’ defense to the Super Bowl that year. Boston and his playstyle have resonated well with players and coaches, leaving a lasting impact on everyone he meets. Boston has long been described as a great guy on and off the field. His exceptional play and strong leadership have set him apart from many other safeties in the game. With that in mind, Tre Boston was a no-brainer for this list.
Kurt Coleman was another member of the Panthers’ elite defense in 2015. The 5’11”, 208-pound Coleman shined during his time in Carolina, making splash plays and providing the Panthers with exactly what they needed from a safety like him. Coleman garnered much love from the fans and coaches as well. At the conclusion of his fourth year, Coleman decided to move on from Carolina. Coleman left his mark on the Panthers during his short time with the team. For this reason, he’s found his way onto today’s list.