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Position preview: Defensive ends

Posted Jul 16, 2013

Not that long ago, the Panthers were the ones scrambling at defensive end.

Now, the Panthers' defensive ends are making opposing quarterbacks scramble.

The Panthers were unsure of their pass rush heading into the 2010 season, their first without Julius Peppers following eight standout seasons. But Charles Johnson picked up where Peppers left off – recording more sacks than Peppers over the past three seasons – and bookend Greg Hardy took off last season.

The duo was one of two in the NFL with double-digit sacks in 2012, and they're aiming for more of the same in 2013.

RETURNERS

Charles Johnson
Led the Panthers in sacks for the third consecutive season in 2012 with 12.5, a career high. … Has totaled 33 sacks since securing a starting role in 2010, the sixth most in the NFL over that time frame. … Set a team record with 3.5 sacks in a Week 4 game at the Atlanta Falcons. … Forced seven fumbles last season, second most in the NFL.

Greg Hardy
Recorded 11 sacks last season, including nine over his final nine games. … Had totaled seven sacks over his first two NFL seasons but appeared on the verge of a breakout after leading Panthers with 17 quarterback pressures in 2011. … Matched Johnson with 23 quarterback pressures in 2012. … Has two safeties to his credit.  

Frank Alexander
Played in all 16 games as a rookie with three starts, recording 2.5 sacks, two fumble recoveries and four passes defensed. … Amassed 17 quarterback pressures. … Co-Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year in 2011, along with Panthers rookie linebacker A.J. Klein.

Mario Addison
Played in final four games last season, recording a sack and forcing a fumble on the same play. … Played in a combined eight games for the Colts and Redskins earlier in the season and a combined seven games for Colts and Bears as a rookie in 2011. … Had 11 sacks as a senior at Troy.

RECENTLY ROSTERED

Louis Nzegwu
Started all 27 games over his final two seasons at Wisconsin, leading the team in sacks as a senior and ranking second as a junior. … Signed as an undrafted rookie free agent out of Wisconsin by the Falcons in 2012 but was waived in the preseason. … Spent one game on Dolphins practice squad.

ROOKIES

Craig Roh
Started 51 consecutive games at Michigan, a school record, including starts at defensive end (29), outside linebacker (20) and defensive tackle (2). … Produced 150 tackles and 10.5 sacks. … Big Ten second-teamer as senior.

Wes Horton
Played in 47 games with 32 starts at Southern Cal. … Recorded 117 tackles and 14.5 sacks. … Pac-12 second team selection as a junior and honorable mention as a senior.


Panthers.com is taking a position-by-position look at the 90-man roster, having previously profiled quarterbacks, running backs, the offensive line, tight ends, wide receivers and defensive tackles.