DE Johnson could play bigger role for Panthers

Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas

MINNEAPOLIS -- Very quietly, the Panthers are working defensive end Charles Johnson into a bigger role.

Tyler Brayton still is the starting left defensive end, but I'm noticing Johnson getting increased reps today. That may be a sign of things to come. Brayton was a first-round bust in Oakland. He's been pretty ordinary in a starting role and hasn't shown a lot as a pass rusher.

Johnson, a second-year pro out of Georgia, didn't do much as a rookie. But he's beefed up to 275 pounds and is showing signs he can play the run. He's also got good quickness and that makes him a potential threat as a pass rusher. It might not be too long before Johnson gets a chance as a starter.