Wharton was inked by Dave Gettleman just before the season started and wasn't slated to see a whole lot of playing time. But as this league goes, nobody is a guaranteed bench player as we've seen so many seasons before this one. One by one, guards such as Amini Silatolu, Garry Williams, Edmund Kugbila, and Chris Scott all went down for the season or were hampered by injuries, leaving only the wily veteran returning from injury and a defensive tackle-turned offensive tackle-turned offensive guard. However, Wharton solidified the left side of the line, taking up his old position book-ended by Pro Bowlers Ryan Kalil and Jordan Gross, and helped lead the way for a top 10 rushing attack all season long.
The final tally showed Wharton taking 29% of the vote, with the runner up Jordan Gross tallying 25% of the vote. I'd like to include that nominees were gathered prior to the Pro Bowl, but even then, it's really amazing to see how many different guys were great picks for the vote, and that's exactly how it's always been in Carolina. This team has always been made up of no-names and has-beens and never-was's, but when they come to Carolina they are given a chance. Anybody who can support and live by the mantra of "Keep Pounding" can succeed here, and it's a beautiful thing to see. The future is bright in Carolina, as a young supporting cast will have the chance to step up behind the elite few who hold this team together. All they have to do is Keep Pounding and capitalize on every chance they are given, as so many have done in the past, and so many will do in the future.