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Panthers 2023 season opener countdown: 3 days to go

We continue our countdown to the Panthers regular season opener.

NFL: Preseason-Detroit Lions at Carolina Panthers Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

We’re only 3 days away from the Panthers 2023 season opener against the Atlanta Falcons, and we look to close out our countdown in the coming days with a look at number 3 on the roster — RB Raheem Blackshear.

Blackshear came to Carolina as a signing off the practice squad of the Buffalo Bills in 2022, who brought him in as an undrafted free agent but elected not to keep him on the 53 man roster. He joined a Panthers runningback room sporting Christian McCaffrey, D’Onta Foreman, and Chuba Hubbard, though CMC was eventually traded to the 49ers which opened him up to some touches as a key backup. He rushed 23 times for 77 yards and 3 TDs, and added 10 catches for 93 yards as a receiver as well. He was part of the Panthers historic performance against the Detroit Lions, where the team set a franchise record in rushing yards in a game.

In 2023, Blackshear retained his spot as 3rd on the RB depth chart, and looks to be their primary kick and punt returner on paper at least initially to open the season. Blackshear’s speed and receiving ability should allow him to continue to see touches as a rotational piece to spell Miles Sanders and Chuba Hubbard. Overall, a solid backup in my opinion and someone the team can count on for a burst when needed for the offense.

What are your thoughts on Blackshear? And happy almost-week-one!