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Panthers 2021 season opener countdown: 76 days to go

We’re counting down the days until the Panthers kick off the 2021 season.

NFL: Carolina Panthers Rookie Minicamp Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

We’re only 76 days away from the start of the Panthers’ 2021 season, and since we don’t have a No. 76 on the roster we’re calling an audible* and talking about one of the two players who wear No. 71 — defensive tackle Phil Hoskins.

The Panthers selected Hoskins in the seventh round (No. 232 overall) of the 2021 NFL Draft. He played college football at Kentucky, and here’s a brief summary of his college career from his player profile on the team’s website:

At Kentucky, played in 31 career games with 11 starting assignments, all coming in the 2020 season. Totaled 53 tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 4 sacks, seven quarterback hits, one interception, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. Accepted invitation to 2020 Hula Bowl. Tied team high with five quarterback hurries and an interception in 2020. Came to Kentucky from Highland Community College.

We profiled Hoskins when he was selected by the Panthers in the seventh round of the draft, and you can read our thoughts on the selection below:

At 6-foot-5 and 315 pounds, Hoskins definitely has the size to play defensive tackle in the NFL. Nicknamed Big Snacc, Hoskins has had some history of shoulder injuries, getting surgery a couple of times. He has a wingspan of almost seven feet and is pretty nimble for a man his size. Those long arms can be a hindrance, though, as evidenced by his low bench press total of only 20 reps. He’s also inconsistent using his hands and struggles against powerful blockers. Luckily he’ll get to practice against Deonte Brown everyday, hopefully helping build that weakness into a strength. -DBelt

Hoskins will be competing for a depth spot at defensive tackle with veteran journeyman Caraun Reid and second-year player Mike Panasiuk, who was signed to a reserve/future contract in January.

Let’s hear from you, Panthers fans. Do you think Hoskins has a chance to make the 53-man roster? Why or why not? Share your thoughts with us!

*- We will do this several times throughout the countdown because there are a few instances of two players sharing the same number.