NFL 2023: Carolina Panthers’ New-Look 3-4 Defense Anchored By Versatile Jeremy Chinn

jeremy chinn versatile defender in new look defense (1)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Racing downfield, Carolina Panthers Jeremy Chinn took the inside position while Vonn Bell patrolled the perimeter as rookie quarterback Bryce Young attempted to showcase his big-play passing skills.

During Monday’s opening two OTA 11-on-11 drills, Young, last month’s first overall draft pick during the NFL Draft, focused primarily on check-down routes and running-back screens.

On Young’s lone throw downfield, Young attempted to beat a double team, but Chinn athletically tipped the pass aside.

As the Panthers endure the initial growing pains of installing a 3-4 base defense this offseason, Chinn is expected to play a variety of roles for first-year defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero.

“He’s really just embracing his role,” head coach Frank Reich said earlier in the week. “It’s going to be different for him. And talking to EJ (Evero) the other day about some other possibilities and I know it’s offseason, but we’re really excited about how he’s going to fit into our scheme. After talking to EJ, there’s probably even more roles for him than what we thought.”

Jeremy Chinn To Move Around On Defense

Listed at 6-foot-3 and 220 pounds, Chinn has proven versatile enough to line up at strong and free safety, linebacker is a competitive tweener, big and tough enough to approach the line of scrimmage, but nimble enough to drop back into coverage, as he did against Young on Monday.

“We think very highly of him,” Evero said. “He’s a weapon that we’re definitely going to try to utilize.

“I don’t want to get too much into the specifics but we value his skillset. He’s a guy that can do a lot of different things. You just got to have him on the field and we’re going to figure that out as we work.”

During the OTAs, Chinn has drilled predominately with the defensive back unit. But moving forward, Chinn’s role likely will evolve as the players and coaches better immerse themselves with 3-4 philosophies.

“Height, weight, speed, and when you actually see him do things on the field, it’s like, ‘Woah,’ I didn’t think he could do that,” Panthers linebackers coach Peter Hanson said during a Zoom call with Charlotte-area media last Wednesday.

Peter Hansen: ‘We See Him As A Superhero’

Throughout Chinn’s three-year career, he has lined up at free and strong safety, slot cornerback and linebacker. He has emerged as a nickel package he often lined up during nickel packages and likely will see his dime-package assignments increase.

Chinn gained NFL notoriety as a rookie in 2020, returning back-to-back fumble recoveries for touchdowns. In 11 starts last season, Chinn collected 70 tackles.

Versatility is a key to fielding an efficient 3-4 defense. Chinn’s skillset will be needed in the box and off the line. Whatever is needed.

“We see him as a superhero,” Hansen said. “We just don’t know which cape he’ll wear from day to day.”

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