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Position preview: Defensive ends

Posted Jul 15, 2014

The Panthers' dynamic defensive ends didn't single-handedly catapult Carolina to the top of the NFL in sacks last season, but the group did single-handedly outperform a couple of teams.

Defensive ends accounted for 31.5 of the team's league-leading 60 sacks in 2013. Two teams – the Chicago Bears and Jacksonville Jaguars – didn't record that many sacks across their entire defense.

To boot, the Panthers return every contributor at defensive end, headed by a dynamic duo that has combined for 49.5 sacks over the past two seasons, tied for the most by a pair of teammates over that time period.

RETURNERS

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Charles Johnson
With 11 sacks last season, Johnson became the first player in franchise history to have nine or more sacks in four consecutive seasons. … His 54 sacks in seven seasons with the Panthers rank third in team history. … Also tied for third in team history with 14 forced fumbles. … Nearly as disruptive against the run as he is against the pass.

Greg Hardy
Finished third in the NFL and equaled Kevin Greene's team record of 15 sacks in a season in 2013. … Selected to first Pro Bowl and twice named NFC Defensive Player of the Week, including when he set franchise record with four sacks in season finale at Atlanta. … Collected a career-high 67 tackles.

Mario Addison
Proved to be a valuable rotation player for the Panthers in 2013 while playing in all 16 games and recording career highs with 14 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 15 quarterback pressures, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. … Also tied for the team lead with 10 special teams tackles. … Entering fourth NFL season after splitting first two seasons between four teams.

Frank Alexander
The Panthers' fourth-round draft pick in 2012 had an up-and-down sophomore season, recording 12 tackles, one sack and one fumble recovery in 12 games. … Suspended for the first four games of 2014 for violating the NFL policy and program for substances of abuse but can participate in preseason practices and games.

Wes Horton
Made the opening day roster as an undrafted rookie in 2013 and played in 10 games, recording eight tackles and two sacks. … Both sacks came in the same game, making him the only undrafted rookie to record two sacks in an NFL game in 2013.

Craig Roh
Undrafted rookie spent entire 2013 season on the Panthers' practice squad. … Started a school-record 51 consecutive games at Michigan, recording 150 tackles and 10.5 sacks.

ROOKIES

Kony Ealy
The Panthers' second-round draft choice left Missouri following a standout junior season. … First-team All-Southeastern Conference selection in 2013 after recording 43 tackles, including 14.5 tackles for loss and nine sacks. Also forced three fumbles. … Amassed 27.5 tackles for loss and 14 sacks in three college seasons.

RECENTLY ROSTERED

Alex Hall
Compiled 25 sacks over last two seasons in Canadian Football League to earn All-Star honors each year. … Record-setter at St. Augustine's College was selected in seventh round of 2008 NFL Draft by Cleveland and played three seasons with the Browns, Arizona Cardinals and New York Giants.