We’re 92 days away from the Panthers 2022 season opener, so that means today’s countdown piece is devoted to No. 92 on the roster — defensive end Darryl Johnson.
Darryl Johnson was selected in the seventh round of the 2019 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills, where he played in 21 games over two seasons and logged 2 sacks and 17 total tackles. While Johnson was a rotational player, he provided a great deal of value on special teams, one of the reasons the Panthers traded for him in 2021, giving up a 2022 sixth round draft choice.
Johnson unfortunately had to deal with some injury and COVID related issues in 2021, as he only saw action in three total games and only logged one assisted tackle. You’d hope for more in 2022, and Johnson certainly has a chance. After the departure of Haason Reddick in free agency, the Panthers only have three players I would call “safe” in the defensive end group in Brian Burns, Yetur Gross-Matos, and Marquise Haynes (who signed an extension this offseason). Beyond that, the future is a bit murky. The Panthers drafted Amare Barno in the sixth round this year, however he seems to profile more along the lines of a Brian Burns/Marquise Haynes type player where Johnson may be more of a fit as a traditional 4-3 defensive end. That battle should be one to watch for Panthers fans during the off/preseason, as that fourth edge player role is very much up for grabs, even with guys like Frankie Luvu factoring into the formula. And Johnson’s ability on special teams only adds to his value.
What expectations do you have for Johnson this year, Panthers fans? Share your thoughts with us below!