Carolina Panthers

Best player ever to wear each jersey number for the Panthers

By Joe Person and Jonathan Jones

The late Sam Mills (51) is the only player in Carolina’s Ring of Honor and the man who inspired the team slogan.
The late Sam Mills (51) is the only player in Carolina’s Ring of Honor and the man who inspired the team slogan.

The best player ever to wear each jersey number for the Carolina Panthers since their inception in 1995:

1 – Cam Newton

No Panther even had worn No. 1 before Cam and no one likely will again.

2 – Jimmy Clausen

This was the jersey Newton wanted when he was drafted, but the No. 1 pick took No. 1 instead.

3 – Derek Anderson

Won his only two starts with Panthers when Newton was injured in 2014; gets the nod over Matt Moore.

4 – John Kasay

Graham Gano wore No. 4 for one day before he wisely had a change of heart.

5 – Jim Harbaugh

Active for only one game after signing midway through 2001 season. Name recognition gets him the spot over kickoff specialist Rhys Lloyd.

6 – Joe Nedney

Made 26-of-28 field goals in 2000 after Kasay broke his kneecap in August.

7 – Steve Beuerlein

His QB draw at Green Bay in 1999 remains one of the more memorable plays in team history.

8 – Brad Nortman

Panthers might end up regretting not re-signing their punter of 2012-15.

9 – Graham Gano

Set a franchise record with 146 points in 2015 and has been NFL’s touchbacks leader the past three years.

10 – Todd Sauerbrun

Led NFC in gross punting three years in a row (2001-03), becoming first player since 1970 to do so.

11-Brandon LaFell

Rangy receiver won a Super Bowl with the Patriots a year after leaving Carolina.

12 – Kerry Collins

Starting QB when the Panthers advanced to the NFC Championship Game in their second season.

13 – Kelvin Benjamin

First-round pick from Florida State set the team’s rookie receiving records in 2014.

14 – Frank Reich

Veteran QB started the first three games in franchise history (all losses).

15 – Joe Adams

Obviously, this has not been a popular number over the years.

16 – Chris Weinke

At the helm for 1-15 season, but 28-year-old Heisman winner is the pick over Vinny Testaverde.

17 – Jake Delhomme

Led Carolina to its first Super Bowl and made Cajun cool in Charlotte.

18 – Drew Carter

Caught 71 passes for 977 yards and 8 TDs in parts of three seasons (2005-07).

19 – Ted Ginn Jr.

Hasn’t done much for three other teams, but Panthers have utilized his game-breaking speed. He’s the choice over Keyshawn Johnson.

20 – Chris Gamble

First-round pick was a starter for eight years and is first on the Panthers’ interceptions list (27).

21 – Tshimanga Biakabutuka

Fans still wear the jersey of the bruising back from Michigan.

22 – Tim McKyer

Cornerback played only one season in Carolina near the end of a solid career.

23 – Anthony Johnson

Stepped in at RB in ’96 after an injury to Biakabutuka and became the first 1,000-yard rusher in team history.

24 – Josh Norman

His Pro Bowl season of 2015 was followed by his strange, sudden departure to Washington.

25 – Eric Davis

NFL Network analyst started for five seasons and ranks second in team history with 25 interceptions.

26 – DeShaun Foster

No. 3 on team’s rushing chart; broke five tackles during a TD run in NFC Championship Game victory at Philadelphia.

27 – Deon Grant

Safety was a second-round pick in 2000 who later won a Super Bowl with the Giants.

28 – Jonathan Stewart

Franchise’s second all-time leading rusher behind his buddy DeAngelo Williams.

29 – Cam L. Newtonright

The Furman safety was the Panthers’ original Cam Newton for parts of two seasons.

30 – Mike Minter

Now Campbell University’s coach, Minter is third on Panthers’ career INT list with 17.

31 – Richard Marshall

Starting corner for two seasons after playing nickel first three years.

32 – Fred Lane

Rushed for 2,000 yards in three seasons before he was shot and killed by his wife in 2000.

33 – Doug Evans

His eight INTs in 2001 are the most by a Panthers player in a single season.

34 – DeAngelo Williams

Franchise’s all-time rushing leader was cut after the 2014 season and signed with Pittsburgh.

35 – Mike Tolbert

Has an engaging personality and bowling-ball body – and a penchant for finding the end zone.

36 – Shaun Williams

Safety started 12 games and had 2 INTs in 2006 to earn the nod among a field of pedestrian candidates.

37 – Chad Cota

End-zone interception vs. Steelers sealed NFC West title and 12-4 regular-season record in 1996.

38 – Tyrone Poole

Cornerback was member of inaugural Panthers, and was infamous for appearing nude in Playgirl.

39 – Brett Maxie

Strong safety for inaugural Panthers is now Tampa Bay’s defensive backs coach.

40 – Pat Terrell

Free safety intercepted a Troy Aikman pass and returned it 49 yards to set up game-clinching field goal in playoff win vs. Dallas in 1996.

41 – Captain Munnerlyn

The diminutive and amiable corner had a knack for finding the end zone after his interceptions (five TDs).

42 – Colin Jones

Speedy safety has ranked in top three in special teams tackles among Panthers in three of his four seasons.

43 – Chris Harris

Strong safety was acquired in a trade from Chicago and later traded back to the Bears.

44 – J.J. Jansen

Last bad snap came in the 2010 opener against the Giants – a streak of more than 600 successful snaps.

45 – Brad Hoover

Before fans chanted “Luuuukkke,” they had a “Hoooovvv” cheer for the rugged fullback.

46 – Brent Alexander

Started 32 games at safety in 1998-99.

47 – Jeff King

Former Virginia Tech tight end was a four-year starter under John Fox.

48 – Stephen Davis

Workhorse running back from Spartanburg ranks sixth on team’s all-time rushing list.

49 – Casey Cramer

Panthers’ only player from Dartmouth makes the list by default among slim pickings at 49.

50 – James Anderson

Racked up a bunch of tackles during a couple of seasons when Thomas Davis was injured.

51 – Sam Mills

The only player in Carolina’s Ring of Honor and the man who inspired the team slogan is a no-brainer.

52 – Jon Beason

A three-time Pro Bowler, Beason was as good as anyone when he was healthy.

53 – Na’il Diggs

Started 46 games at linebacker for the Panthers in the mid-to-late 2000s

54 – Will Witherspooon

Had seven interceptions and eight sacks in his four years (55 starts) at middle linebacker here.

55 – Dan Morgan

Injuries derailed Morgan from potentially being one of the team’s all-time greats.

56 – Micheal Barrow

He played multiple linebacker positions and started in all of his 48 games in Carolina.

57 – Lamar Lathon

An original Panther who made the Pro Bowl in 1996.

58 – Thomas Davis

The first NFL player to come back from three ACL tears, Davis will have a statue in Charlotte one day.

59 – Luke Kuechly

The cornerstone of Carolina’s defense during the most successful three-year era in team history.

60 – Jeff Mitchell

A center who started in all 78 appearances in his time in Carolina.

61 – Amini Silatolu

The former second-round pick didn’t get extended after mediocre play and injuries.

62 – Jeff Byers

A role player his entire career, Byers is probably embarrassed to be on this list.

63 – Geoff Hangartner

One of the smartest players to ever be on this team, edges Jamar Nesbit here.

64 – Curtis Whitley

Starting center for Panthers’ first two seasons; died in 2008 at 39 of an apparent drug overdose.

65 – Kevin Donnalley

An offensive guard for Carolina’s 2003 Super Bowl run, Donnalley remains connected to the team.

66 – Matthew Campbell

Few players have worn this jersey, and Campbell was by far the most successful in it.

67 – Ryan Kalil

The best center in Panthers history, Kalil has five Pro Bowls to his name.

68 – Mike Wahle

Only here three years, Wahle went to the Pro Bowl in his first season with the Panthers.

69 – Jordan Gross

A consistent left tackle who started in all 167 games he played.

70 – Travelle Wharton

The guard never appeared in a regular-season game for another team during his 10 years in the league.

71 – Greg Kragen

A 13-year nose tackle who spent his final three seasons in Carolina.

72 – Danny Villa

Villa was a stable long snapper for his one season (1998) with the team.

73 – Michael Oher

It only took one season for The Blind Side to win this one.

74 – Mike Remmers

Starting right tackle in Super Bowl 50 will get a shot at redemption vs. Von Miller on Sept. 8.

75 – Todd Steussie

Started all 48 games at tackle, including Super Bowl XXXVIII.

76 – Greg Hardy

His career in Charlotte ended badly, but no one who wore this jersey played better than Hardy.

77 – Kris Jenkins

Jenkins went to three of his four Pro Bowls with Carolina at defensive tackle.

78 – Blake Brockermeyer

An original Panther who had 56 starts out of 58 games.

79 – Jeff Otah

That one of the biggest draft busts in team history is here tells you the dearth of talent at No. 79.

80 – Dwight Stone

Special teams ace was a well-respected leader in the Panthers’ locker room.

81 – Ricky Proehl

Proehl’s contributions to the team, on and off the field, earn him this honor.

82 – Michael Bates

The five-time Pro Bowler was a reliable return man for the early Panthers.

83 – Mark Carrier

He’s fifth all-time in receiving yards for Carolina, and he’s now the director of player development.

84 – Mark Jones

Averaged 11.4 yards per punt return and 24 yards per kick return in his one season.

85 – Wesley Walls

A fan favorite who held every meaningful tight end record until Greg Olsen came along.

86 – Kris Mangum

He played his entire 10-year career with Carolina.

87 – Muhsin Muhammad

Moose was the perfect complement to Steve Smith in the early 2000s.

88 – Greg Olsen

The best tight end in Carolina’s history, and Cam Newton’s most reliable target.

89 – Steve Smith

He could be the first player in the Pro Football Hall of Fame who spent the majority of his career in Carolina.

90 – Julius Peppers

One of the best defensive ends in the NFL of the 2000s.

91 – Kevin Greene

He spent three years of his Hall of Fame career with the Panthers.

92 – Reggie White

No doubt the greatest player to wear this jersey, even though he spent the final year of his career in Charlotte.

93 – Mike Rucker

He racked up 55 1/2 sacks in his nine seasons with the Panthers.

94 – Kony Ealy

Ealy would have been the Super Bowl 50 MVP had Carolina beaten Denver.

95 – Charles Johnson

Johnson is behind only Peppers on the team’s all-time sacks list (63 1/2).

96 – Al Wallace

Got 17 of his 23 career sacks in his five seasons with the Panthers.

97 – Mario Addison

Addison, who also plays specials teams, has more sacks than any Panthers defensive end since 2014.

98 – Star Lotulelei

A former first-round pick who eats up space and lets guys like Kuechly roam.

99 – Kawann Short

Short set a franchise record at DT with 11 sacks in 2015, and he edges out Brentson Buckner.

Jonathan Jones: 704-358-5323, @jjones9

Joseph Person: 704-358-5123, @josephperson