After reading this article about how impactful RAS (Relative Athletic Score) has been on individual player success for this team, I decided it would be a fun idea to look at the RAS of those in contention to see the field next season.
Eleven offensive players alone have a RAS scores about an 8.00 and every skill player has at least an average or above RAS score. While the offensive line has a lot of red, it is notable that both projected starting offensive tackles (hopefully by end of season with Christensen) have very high scores. The explosiveness at skill positions is the reason why moving on from Teddy 'Checkdown' Bridgewater was such a necessity this offseason. While the effectiveness of Sam Darnold is yet to be seen, this offense undeniably has more explosive potential than it did last season.
Shoutout to Jeremy Chinn and Jaycee Horn. The only other Panthers to be drafted since 2011 to have a perfect RAS score were Cam Newton and Luke Kuechly, let's hope that these two will have even close to the same impact.
The defensive RAS scores were very surprising, personally. I know that they take size into account, but to see Donte Jackson have the sixth-lowest RAS score out of the seven potential impactful corners is shocking. It is also slightly surprising to see our linebackers so low, especially Denzel Perryman given his explosiveness on tape. Outside of the linebacker position, it's evident that the coaches and front office greatly value RAS scores. Nine defensive players have a RAS score above 8.00, with THREE defensive players having a RAS score above 9.90. I for one am extremely excited to see Burns and Reddick wreak absolute havoc on quarterbacks on third downs, forcing them to step up right into the arms of big Derrick Brown.
My predicted starters
The biggest surprise on defense would be Myles Hartsfield at free safety. I think he starts because he played decent in limited snaps at the position last season (his first time playing the position), he has a great RAS score, and he doesn't exactly have great competition. We will certainly see Morgan Fox and Yetur Gross-Matos get a lot of snaps all across the defensive line, most likely taking snaps from Haason Reddick and Daviyon Nixon. We have a ton of depth up front, so expect a lot of situational rotations between everyone not named Brian Burns and Derrick Brown.
On offense, everything is presumably set except for the offensive line. If Brady Christensen is starting Week 1, I expect a veteran like Pat Elflein to be next to him to help him out whenever needed. The battle between David Moore, Deonte Brown, and John Miller will be great to watch, but I expect one of the rookies to beat out Miller. They likely have a higher ceiling and will be sandwiched between two veterans to help them along the way. Terrace Marshall Jr. will get a lot of snaps at slot, as well Tommy Tremble at tight end.
The transition from valuing hog mollies to valuing athleticism is a welcomed one for me. Don't get me wrong, I can't wait to see Deonte Brown and Derrick Brown clash in a near 700 pound collision, but I'm more excited to see Jaycee Horn covering DJ Moore. Whether or not it'll translate to winning games is yet to be seen, but we do know two things... the potential is there and it certainly won't be boring either way.