Will This Panthers Second-Rounder Break Out In 2022?

August 19, 2022

What can Carolina Panthers fans expect from former LSU star wide receiver Terrace Marshall JR as he heads into his sophomore season? Will last year’s second-round draft pick finally see a breakout in 2022?

A season ago rookie Terrace Marshall Jr was the star of the Panthers’ preseason, hauling in 181 yards on just nine receptions including a touchdown in the preseason finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers. In fact, Marshall Jr made such an effect on the coaching staff that the team went on to cut veteran wideout David Moore who was scheduled to be the third wide receiver on the offensive depth chart.

Injuries For Panthers’ Marshall Derailed A Promising Rookie Year

This elevated rookie Marshall into a much bigger role than was expected, however, Marshall JR came to Carolina with a very high pedigree. He was a star of the 2019 LSU Tigers national championship-winning team which included the likes of Joe Burrow, Ja’Marr Chase, and Justin Jefferson. Despite the talent in the receiver room in his final two years in Baton Rogue, Marshall hauled in an impressive 23 touchdowns including one vs Clemson in the National Championship.  

Many mock drafts had Marshall Jr being selected in the first round, however, concerns over injuries the player suffered at LSU caused him to fall out of the first round. Carolina eventually selected him 59th overall. Unfortunately for Marshall Jr, injuries were a huge factor in his rookie season. He missed time in 2021 with a concussion before being placed on injured reserve ahead of the season finale with a foot injury. His rookie season ended the season with just 17 receptions for 131 yards and zero touchdowns. 

Will 2022 Be The Breakout Year For The Panthers Young Wideout?

Early signs ahead of the 2022 season for Marshall Jr are positive despite being plagued with an unspecified lower leg injury at the back end of camp. During OTAs and minicamp, it was noted by many that Marshall was making plays on a daily basis. Head coach Matt Rhule indicated that despite his struggles last year Marshall will be the Panthers starting slot receiver in 2022. 

There’s no doubt that DJ Moore will be atop the Panthers’ wide receiver depth chart this upcoming season as he looks for a fourth straight 1000-yard season. However, the Panthers saw a concerning regression from Robbie Anderson in 2021 after having a career year the season before. If again Anderson fails to meet expectations again in 2022, it’s very possible that we see Marshall move ahead of him on the depth chart. 

It’s important to be fair to the team’s wideouts from a season ago because frankly, they weren’t working with much. Starting quarterback Sam Darnold played as many expected as one of the worst starters in the league. An offensive line consisting of the likes of Pat Elflein, Cam Erving and John Miller as starters was never likely to succeed. The Panthers ended the 2021 season with a miserable 14 passing touchdowns, the second lowest number in the league.

However, heading into 2022 things look a lot more positive for Marshall and the Panthers offense as a whole. The Panthers brought in former first overall pick Baker Mayfield. Just two seasons ago, he led the calamitous Cleveland Browns franchise to the postseason. The Panthers also completely overhauled the offensive line unit, bringing in solid players like Bradley Bozeman and Austin Corbett. Most importantly, the Panthers drafted Ikem Ekwonu sixth overall to hopefully give the team their first long-term Left Tackle option since Jordan Gross retired in 2013.

Marshall clearly has the attributes to succeed at this level, standing just under six-foot-three and running a quick 4.40 40-yard dash. He’s a physical specimen, especially in the red zone as we saw at LSU. If the Panthers can find a way to incorporate Marshall into new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s offense, the combination of Moore and Marshall could cause havoc in the league for the foreseeable future.  

Similarly to Carolina Panthers LB Frankie Luvu, Terrace Marshall Jr may be expected to step into a bigger role in 2022, and it’s up to the player to perform.