We’re 48 days away from the Panthers 2022 season opener, so that means today’s countdown piece is devoted to the player who until recently wore No. 48 on the roster — defensive end Jacob Tuioti-Mariner. (He has since changed his number to 94).
Tuioti-Mariner entered the NFL as a 2018 undrafted rookie free agent from UCLA signed by the Atlanta Falcons. He spent the entire 2018 season on the Falcons practice squad. In 2019 he appeared in eight games with Atlanta playing 186 defensive snaps and 50 special teams snaps, recording 8 tackles and 1 forced fumble.
His best season came in 2020 when he appeared in all 16 games for the Falcons (zero starts) with 31 tackles, 1 sack, 5 quarterback hits, and 3 fumble recoveries. He was named the NFC’s Defensive Player of the Week in Week 12 when he terrorized the Raiders for 6 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, and 2 fumble recoveries.
Despite his promising performance in 2020, the Falcons released him six games into the 2021 season. During his tenure in Atlanta he played defensive tackle, defensive end, and linebacker. He wasn’t a particularly good fit at linebacker for the scheme Atlanta ran, which is the primary reason they released him. After being cut by the Falcons mid-season in 2021 he was signed by the Steelers and spent the rest of the year on their practice squad.
In 2022 Tuioti-Mariner signed a 1-year, $965,000 contract with the Panthers. It will be interesting to see which position he ultimately plays in Carolina. The Panthers website previously listed him as a defensive tackle but he now shows up as a defensive end, so that’s the best indication of where he’ll likely play.
I think this is a great signing by Carolina’s front office. Tuioti-Mariner will enter the 2022 season as a 26-year-old with enough experience to build on, but enough potential to still develop. Given his versatility across the defensive line and the lack of depth the Panthers have at both defensive end and defensive tackle, he has a legitimate shot at making the 53-man roster.
What do you think Panthers fans? Will Tuioti-Mariner’s versatility pay off, or is he a jack of all trades but master of none? Tell us in the comments!