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 Carolina football with pride and put together the Panthers All-Decade Team. Today, we will be taking a look at the offensive side of the ball exclusively.
Carolina Panthers All-Decade Team: The Offense
Quarterback: Cam Newton
As far as the quarterback position is concerned, Cam Newton is the obvious choice. Apart from 2010, Newton assumed the role of starting quarterback for the Panthers nearly the entire decade. The Auburn-product delivered some of the most show-stopping performances in Carolina Panthers history during this era, putting him in the conversation for the franchise’s best all-time player.
In 2015, Newton helped lead the Panthers to an impressive 15-1 regular season. That same year, the Panthers advanced to the Super Bowl in the playoffs, but fell to the Denver Broncos in heart-breaking fashion. Newton’s efforts in 2015 weren’t all for not however. Newton captured the NFL’s MVP Award in 2015, becoming the franchise’s first-ever player to do so. While the Panthers and Newton decided to go their separate ways in 2020, Newton’s flashy and energetic legacy will live on in Charlotte.
Running back: Jonathan Stewart
This was by-far the hardest position to chose a player for, but in the end, we decided to select Jonathan Stewart. Stewart was an absolute machine with the Panthers during this decade, slicing up NFL defenses for seven years of the era. While Christian McCaffrey would’ve been an acceptable choice for this spot, Stewart’s record-setting performance during this time set him apart. During the decade in question, Stewart became the Panthers’ all-time leading rusher. A feat that simply cannot be ignored. Having performed at such a high level for so much of the decade, it only made sense to put him on the list.
Wide Receivers: Steve Smith, DJ Moore, Ted Ginn Jr.
Another player that simply had to be on this list was Steve Smith. Apart from being an extremely successful wide receiver, Smith brought a fire and passion to the Panthers unlike anything seen previously. Currently, Smith stands as one of the most successful Panthers to ever play the game. Smith leads the franchise all-time in receiving yards, which is a big part of why he was inducted into the Panthers’ Hall of Honor.
Since being drafted in 2018, DJ Moore has solidified himself as one of the best young wide receivers in the game. He’s also made some noise in the Panthers’ franchise record books. Moore eclipsed 1000 yards in 2019, which left him ranked 9th in the NFL in receiving yards. Having achieved this so early on in his career, Moore should become one of the Panthers’ all-time greatest receivers in no-time, assuming all goes well.
Ted Ginn Jr is often forgot about when talking about great Panthers wide receivers. Ginn not only become one of the most reliable pass-catching options for a young Newton, but he also made his mark on special teams. Ginn’s speed coupled with his elusiveness not only made him a Panthers great, but it also landed him on our list.
Tight End: Greg Olsen
If the word reliable was a player, it’s name would be Greg Olsen. Often referred to as “Mr. Reliable” during his time in Carolina, Olsen not only solidified himself as the best Panthers’ tight end of this decade, but also of all time. After spending his early career in Chicago, Olsen joined the squad via trade in 2013 and never looked back. During his time in Carolina, Olsen finished three consecutive season with over 1000 receiving yards. A feat so rare for tight ends that it seems nearly impossible.
Offensive Guard: Andrew Norwell, Trai Turner
Coming out of Ohio State undrafted in 2014, not much was expected of Guard Andrew Norwell. As it turns out, Norwell became a star for the Panthers, playing incredibly well during his four-year stretch with the organization. Norwell only committed seven penalties during his tenure with the team. Even more impressive than that, Norwell also became the third Panthers’ linemen ever to be named a First-Team All-Pro.
Since coming into the league, Guard Trai Turner has been an impressive player. The 6-3, 315-pound Turner has quickly become of the best interior linemen in the NFL. Turner has been selected to the Pro Bowl five times since joining the Panthers, making him one of the franchise’s most decorated linemen ever. Despite being traded to the Los Angeles Chargers during the 2020 off-season, Turner doesn’t appear to be slowing down a bit. With that being said, there’s almost no one better at protecting the quarterback in the NFL than Turner, which is exactly why his name can be found on today’s list.
Offensive Tackle: Jordan Gross, Taylor Moton
Jordan Gross is a legend among men in Carolina. Gross became a staple on the Panthers’ offensive line from 2003-2013. To many, Gross is regarded as the best left tackle in Carolina Panthers history, and it’s easy to see why. Gross commanded his opponents at the line with force, viciously protecting his quarterback. Gross’s accomplishments were honored even more in 2019, when he was inducted into the Panthers’ Ring of Honor.
Taylor Moton has quietly become one of the best offensive tackles in pro football. His versatility and ability to stay healthy have set him apart from many other young tackles in the league. Moton’s fantastic play has catapulted him to fame in Carolina and also earned him a spot on our list.
Center: Ryan Kalil
Another Carolina legend we have on our list is Ryan Kalil. Kalil served as the Panthers center for the better part of the decade, and a quite good one at that. During the last decade in Carolina, Kalil managed to be selected to the Pro Bowl four times and be named a First-Team All-Pro two times as well. Kalil’s ability to stay healthy paired with his excellent play made him one of the best players to ever wear the black and blue. For that reason, Kalil can be found on this list.
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