3 Players Who Must Step Up For The Carolina Panthers This Season

The Carolina Panthers saw their dream season fall short in the Super Bowl last year, and this team is determined to get back to the big stage and claim the franchise's first championship. However, for that to happen, they need these three players to step up and become major impact players this season:

WR Kelvin Benjamin

Benjamin was one of the best young receivers in the league in 2014, catching 73 passes for 1,008 yards and nine touchdowns as a rookie. Carolina was expecting big things from him last year, but he tore his ACL in the preseason and missed the whole year. Now he's back and better than ever.

Cam Newton's favorite target, he's undoubtedly the top option for the Panthers in the passing game. He has incredible hands and athleticism, and his 6'6", 245-pound frame allow him to make catches over the middle with ease. Benjamin is also one of the premier red zone threats in the league.

DE Kony Ealy

Ealy showed a lot of promise in his second season, racking up 32 tackles and five sacks while earning more and more playing time. However, it was his Super Bowl performance that really showed his potential. He recorded three sacks and an interception against the Broncos, and it cemented him as a starter for the upcoming season.

CB Bene Benwikere

A lot of Carolina's dominant defense was centered around what Josh Norman could do in the secondary. How that he's in Washington, Benwikere is the top cornerback on the roster. He was very good as the No. 2 cornerback last season, deflecting nine passes and getting 59 tackles, but the onus is now on him to prove he can be a true shutdown player. He likely won't turn into the playmaker that Norman was - he has just one career interception - but the Panthers need him to produce at a high level.

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Related Topics: Panthers News, Kony Ealy, Kelvin Benjamin, Bene Benwikere, NFL News