The Year of Yetur: Why the 3rd Year Player is Primed to Take a Leap in 2022


Art provided by Kelli Blackburn :)

Writing for this blog has afforded me the opportunity to connect with many other diehard Panther fans on Twitter, Instagram, and even Facebook! When I made the trip down to Spartanburg for training camp a couple weeks ago, I got to meet Christian McCaffrey's biggest fan Kelli Blackburn, a fellow high school senior, and someone you might've seen in a few pictures on the Panthers' social media account below:



Eventually, she's hoping to pursue a future in either sports journalism/broadcasting (like me :)) or a graphic designer in the social media field. If you have a Twitter (@6lackb1rd) or Instagram account (@kellidrawss), I'd encourage you to give her a follow and check out her content; Kelli is a good content creator and an even greater person!


She provided this design of Yetur above, if you couldn't tell :)

 

Entering his third season as a pro, Yetur Gross-Matos has plenty to prove after sustaining injuries in both his previous years...and he has plenty of opportunities.


After the loss of prized free agent Haason Reddick, Gross-Matos is stepping into the role of the No. 2 pass rusher opposite Brian Burns. Defensive coordinator Phil Snow said that "If he stays healthy and can practice every day and play every week, then I think his future is really bright here."


The former Nittany Lion has quite an impressive athletic profile (even being compared to JPP at one point) and the potential to live up to his draft status but it's all about production at this point. His professional football career stats are as follows below:


Given the circumstances over the past couple of years, I'll give him a pass but if he can't take a significant leap this season, there are other options behind him. Hybrid linebacker Frankie Luvu showed the ability to rush the passer in a limited role before being extended this offseason, and Marquis Haynes has been a great situational pass rusher, consistently improving his craft since his selection in 2018.


YGM might've gained an edge through the joint practices along with Brian Burns, both of whom stayed behind and picked the brain of veteran pass rusher Matthew Judon in New England. Burns mentioned that "Judon's good at a lot of things. He has elite bend. His moves are crisp. He's very physical. And his approach to rush is a lot different than I thought."


If the young defensive ends can glean anything from those conversations and apply it to the field, I'd consider the joint practices a win even with the multiple fights. Do you think Yetur can apply what he's learned and dominate this season? Leave your comments below.







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