Skip to main content

Panthers WR Jonathan Mingo on heading into second season: 'I know people haven't seen the best of me yet'

A year ago, the Carolina Panthers envisioned rookies Bryce Young and Jonathan Mingo growing into a dominant duo. The combo struggled out of the gate.

Young's issues have been widely chronicled. Mingo experienced similar struggles during his rookie season. In 15 games, including 14 starts, the second-round receiver caught 43 of 85 targets for 418 yards and zero touchdowns.

This offseason, the Panthers went about rectifying their receiver room struggles, trading for Diontae Johnson and drafting Xavier Legette in the first round to go with veteran Adam Thielen. Still, Carolina needs Mingo or 2021 second-rounder Terrace Marshall Jr. to play a role.

In an interview with Joe Person of The Athletic during minicamp, Mingo was asked about the possibility of being out of the rotation after one year of struggles.

"Like I said, I don't care what nobody says," he responded. "I've been betting on myself my whole life. I've been through it all. At the end of the day, it's me versus me. So I'm gonna look myself in the mirror and figure out what I gotta do. I know what I bring to the table, and I know people haven't seen the best of me yet. So that's really all I've been focusing on this offseason. This offseason's been going pretty good for me. Just been trying to go out there and prove the game slows down. Everything's been going smoothly. Everything's more relaxed. I feel good. I feel like we're in a good spot going into the season."

Mingo's struggles last season were pervasive. He never looked comfortable in the offense and struggled to make an impact despite seeing 85 targets. Pro Football Focus graded Mingo as 54th out of 54 receivers with at least 75 targets. His 0.78 yards per route run ranked dead last. His receiving success rate of 32.9% ranked 138 out of all positions, per Pro Football Reference.

Mingo dismissed critiques about his route running that bubbled up last season.

"I think overblown," he said. "At the end of the day, I know I can run routes. I feel when it comes down to it, I'm a good route runner. I know what I can do when it comes to route running. People might try to say stuff. But when teams come to play us, they watch film, too. So they can see what routes are coming off (receivers') splits. People don't know game. They're on the outside looking in. Just like we can see a defense and know what coverage they're in. I know I can run routes. You're not going to win all of 'em, but I'm damn sure gonna win the majority of 'em."

Mingo took 527 (61%) snaps as an outside receiver last season with just 204 (24%) in the slot, per Next Gen Stats. Coming out of Ole Miss, the 6-foot-2 receiver profiled as a big slot option but didn't see many reps there last season, with Thielen getting most of the inside looks. One thing to track during Panthers training camp will be how Dave Canales utilizes his new receiver corps and whether Mingo moves to the slot more, which could help jumpstart his career.

Related Content