We’ve had some very loved Carolina Panthers throughout the team’s history. Players like Sams Mills, Jake Delhomme, Steve Smith, John Kasey, and Cam Newton just to name a select few. That being said when I came across this list of the most loved defensive rookie players of the past 20 years I wasn’t surprised to see to Panthers. And it was exciting to see that a Carolina Panthers alum took the title of most loved defensive rookie.
This list was curated by Betway by taking the winners of the NFL’s prestigious “Defensive Rookie of the Year” winners from the last 20 years and looking at the online sentiment surrounding them. In the NFL Draft a quarterback, flashy running back or receiver are typically the sexiest picks for fans. But they saying is defense wins championships and I believe that to be true. When a team can draft a defensive rookie who can immediately make a positive impact that’s a huge advantage for the organization. When you think of some of the Panthers’ most popular defensive names who comes to mind first? Probably Luke Keuchly and Julius Peppers. Both were drafted by the Panthers ten years apart, and both made a huge impact on the franchise. They also of course both won the title of Defensive Rookie of the Year.
So it’s no surprise both of them made this list! Keep reading to see where each of the 20 most recent Rookie of the Year ranked on popularity and public sentiment. And of course which Carolina Panthers alum takes the title of most loved rookie? You can read the full Betway study here.