Carolina Panthers 2010s all-decade defense

Luke Kuechly of the Carolina Panthers (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Luke Kuechly of the Carolina Panthers (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /
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Kawann Short
ATLANTA, GA – DECEMBER 31: Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons is pressures by Kawann Short #99 of the Carolina Panthers during the first half at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on December 31, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) /

Defensive Tackles

Kawann Short

Perhaps one of the best players out of the 2013 draft class, Kawann Short has put together quite a career with the Panthers. In his first six years with Carolina, Short missed just two games and put together 32.5 sacks and 58 tackles for loss–both franchise records among defensive tackles. He was a key cog up the middle during Carolina’s Super Bowl run in 2015, in which the two-time Pro Bowler collected a career-best 11.0 regular-season sacks. Despite landing on injured reserve following Week Two of this season, Short remains one of the best interior defensive lineman in the NFL. His absence has been sorely missed in defending the opponent’s run game.

Star Lotulelei

Another defensive tackle from the 2013 draft, Star Lotulelei was a second “hog molly” that helped anchor the Panthers’ defensive front during the 2010s. Drafted at 14th overall, Lotulelei is actually the highest-drafted defensive tackle the Panthers have ever selected. His numbers are nowhere near those of Short, however, Lotulelei was instrumental in Carolina’s run defense, and took on blockers to help free up the linebackers. He totaled 11.5 sacks and 28 tackles for loss during his five seasons with the Panthers before joining Buffalo in free agency prior to the start of last season.