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The Top Twenty: Top Panthers of All Time 6 – 10

It has been awhile since I posted part one of this series, the season ended, and much has happened. Cam Newton won more awards and accolades, the Panthers started their off season in earnest by resigning several players who fans may not recognize, and today the combine kicked off. Let the draft speculation begin!

If you haven’t reviewed the players at the 11 through 20 spots, I highly recommend hitting this link to catch up with the rest of the class.

Don’t worry, we will wait.

Another thing happened since this list debuted with some importance in Panthers lore. The Panthers came very close to having their second player nominated to the HOF. The firs was Reggie White, the second was almost Kevin Greene.

And that gentleman is where the second half of our list starts.

10 Kevin Greene

It is hard for me to believe that Kevin Greene is nearly 50, it seems like just yesterday the Panthers were entering their second season with a head of steam. In the off-season, after finishing 7-9 their first year, the team went fishing in the free agent pond and came up with former Pittsburgh Steeler Kevin Greene. The Steelers had made it all the way to the Super Bowl in 1995, eventually losing to the Cowboys. But that didn’t matter; I remember being thrilled with this pickup. Kevin Green had been drafted in the 5th round in 1985 by the LA Rams and by 96 Greene was in his 11th season in the league, but still had a little something left in the tank. The single season he played with the Panthers he had an immediate impact, along with Sam Mills, leading a Defensive unit that would carry the Panthers to the NFC Championship game in only their second season. Along the way Greene led the league in sacks with 14 ½ and one several linebacker and defensive player of the year awards. His time with the team was short, but his impact, at least on this fan has lasted a long time.

9 Wesley Walls

This was the first NFL jersey I bought and had autographed. Wesley Walls was another player from the 1996 play-off team; and another fan favorite from the Panthers founding. He was drafted out of Mississippi in the second round of the 1989 draft. His career began with the San Francisco 49ers were he stayed until 1993. After a brief stint with the Saints the Panthers signed Walls in 1996 and his ascension to the top of the Panther tight-end throne began. In his six seasons with the Panthers Walls was selected to the Pro Bowl 5 times, and was an All Pro 4 times. He finished his career with 450 receptions for 5,291 yards. He even managed to serve as the team’s back-up punter. What I remember most though was his dependability. If the team needed yards or a first down conversion; Walls was always right where he needed to be.

8 Jon Beason

There is an argument to be made that the eight spot is both too high and too low for Jon Beason. Those that want to grade him higher believe in his potential to be the greatest linebacker the Panthers have ever had, the other side of the coin is that with only 4 seasons to judge him on, it’s just too soon to tell. With all that in mind I think 8 is perfect. Beason was drafted in the first round of the 2007 draft out of Miami. And with the exception of the 2011 season, which he missed with a torn achilles tendon, Beason has been the steady anchor in the middle of the linebacking core. Something this team has been missing for some time. This was never more evident than this past season when the team didn’t have his leadership, and sorely missed it. During his four seasons Beason has been selected to the Pro Bowl 4 times and has amassed 545 tackles, 4 sacks and 8 interceptions.

7 Muhsin Muhammad

Moose was the first player I ever remember recognizing from a Panthers draft. His was also the second jersey I ever bought. Drafted in the second round of the 1996 draft, Muhammed would take a couple seasons to break out as a receiver for the Panthers. His first big time season was 1999 under the newly minted coach George Siefert. Muhammed would spend the next several seasons being near the top of the league in receptions and yards; and earning a couple Pro Bowl selections. Perhaps his most memorable catch made as a Panther was the 85 yard touchdown in Super Bowl XXXVIII, which still stands as the longest catch in a Super Bowl. And until recently being eclipsed by Steve Smith, Muhammed held the team record for catches and receiving yards.

6 Jake Delhomme

Never flashy, never a “franchise” QB, Jake simply went out and did what was asked of him. Later in his career with the Panthers he was plagued by the “Good Jake / Bad Jake” syndrome, but that shouldn’t take away from the Super Bowl run and otherwise solid career. Delhomme went undrafted in 1997 and proceeded to bounce around the league to several teams including two NFL Europe teams. When he finally landed with the Panthers in 2003, he was just what the team needed. After a 2002 season which had starred Rodney Peete and Chris Weinke, it was time for something different. And different worked, though Weinke and Peete remained on the roster, the Panthers started winning with Jake, and didn’t look back. Eventually the team would steam its way to Super Bowl XXXVIII with Jake leading eight game winning drives that season. After the 2003 season, the Panthers and Jake had moderate success, reaching the playoffs twice more, until his release in 2010.

Tomorrow we will wrap this up with the Top Five Panthers of all time, at least in this guys view.

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