We’re only 34 days away from the start of the Panthers’ 2021 season, so that means today’s countdown piece is dedicated to No. 34 on the Panthers’ roster — safety Sean Chandler.
Chandler began his NFL career in 2018 as an undrafted free agent with the New York Giants. He latched on to their 53-man roster as a rookie and played in all 16 regular season games registering 141 defensive snaps and 241 special teams snaps. He was credited with 18 tackles, two quarterback hits, one pass defended, and one fumble recovery during his rookie season.
In 2019 he appeared in 13 games but his defensive role diminished. He played just 30 defensive snaps but was a special teams mainstay and saw 250 snaps there. In 2020 he played sparingly in three games and was then demoted to the Giants practice squad.
Carolina swooped in shortly thereafter and signed him off the Giants practice squad in late October 2020. Chandler was ultimately placed on the Panthers practice squad for the duration of the season. He did not appear in any games for the Panthers last year.
Chandler is another member of the Matt Rhule Temple/Baylor Pipeline (MRTBP?). He spent three years at Temple playing under Rhule, so the two know each other well. Chandler played in 32 NFL games over three seasons in New York without Coach Rhule’s special version of football nepotism giving him a break, so we know at least one other coaching staff believes he belongs in the league. The main concern going into 2021 is his career was trending in the wrong direction with the Giants before Carolina poached him last season.
As far as the depth chart goes, ESPN projects Chandler as the third string free safety with new addition Lano Hill as the second stringer. While Hill has more experience than Chandler with 64 tackles over 42 career games, neither of them are fixtures on the roster and will likely be battling each other for a roster spot or future playing time.
The Panthers depth at safety is thin, so Sean Chandler has as good of a shot as anyone at sticking around in Charlotte for the upcoming season.
What will Sean Chandler’s role be in 2021?
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Contributor (10-20 snaps per game)
Reserve/special teams (less than 10 snaps per game)