With the season ending achilles injury to Jon Beason last week the Panthers will be calling on Beason’s backup Dan Conner to step in and step up to fill the middle linebacker spot this season. As such, I thought it would be a good idea to give the fans a little refresher on this 4th year Carolina Panther.
First, a few numbers; Conner is 6′ 3″ and weighs in at around 230. This a good size for a linebacker and serves him well as protector of the defensive middle.
Dan Conner spent 4 seasons with Penn State getting 37 starts. During that time he racked up a still standing school record 419 tackles. He was a finalist or semi-finalist for several awards through his college career, including the prestigious Butkus Award given to the nation’s best linebacker. He also became the 17th Penn State linebacker to be awarded All American First
After his 2007 season with Penn State he was ranked number 23rd on SI’s list of 2008 NFL Draft prospects. At the combine Conner ran a 4.63 40 -yard dash and had a vertical jump of 35″. The Carolina Panthers drafted him 74th overall in the 3rd round of that years draft as a linebacker of the future.
Unfortunately, the 2008 Panthers campaign for Connor ended early with a torn ACL suffered during a game against the Minnesota Vikings. After rehabbing his knee Connor came back to the team in the 2009 season.
2009 was Connors only full season playing in 16 games. In 2010 Connor started 8 games in the middle linebacker spot as John Beason moved to the weak side to cover for the injured Thomas Davis.
Dan Connor had a lot of success in his career with Penn State, and many would argue that with the depth the Panthers have had at linebacker during his tenure with the team, Connor hasn’t been given the chance to break out and become the linebacker everyone expected after his college days. Hopefully, with the injury to Job Beason, Dan Connor will step in to the role and shine during the 2011 Carolina Panthers season.
** All stats and biographical information was taken from NFL.COM and Wikipedia