Frankie Luvu was one of the few breakout stars on the Panthers’ defense last season. With a new staff and scheme in place, the versatile defender could be an even bigger weapon in Carolina this year.
As the Panthers transition to a 3-4 defense under new coordinator Ejiro Evero, the staff will attempt to present several different looks to opposing offenses. Luvu can play inside and outside linebacker, and his versatility could help Evero disguise the pre-snap attack plan.
Luvu’s new position coach, Peter Hansen, says the 26-year-old linebacker’s versatility helps him separate himself from his peers.
“I think he’s pretty unique,” Hansen said Wednesday. “There’s not a lot of guys that start out on the line of scrimmage and move backward, and he’s already done that before we got here. That’s impress in itself.”
Luvu led the Panthers with 19 tackles for loss last season. He also finished second on the defense with 111 tackles and seven sacks.
His ability to force pressure as a blitzer was one of the key components of the previous regime’s system. The Panthers are hoping that productivity carries over with the new scheme.
“He’s a good blitzer,” Hansen said. “The stats, the film speaks for itself. But he made a number of plays — huge plays — off the ball last year as well. Whether it’s an interception or causing fumbles, his production is off the charts.”
Luvu will move around the defensive front this season.
The 6-foot-3, 235-pound defender can rush from the line of scrimmage or attack as a blitzer in sub-packages. He can also play in coverage if needed.
Luvu’s unique traits allow him to act as a versatile chess piece. And his high-energy style in practice and in the meeting room help set the tone for the rest of the linebacker group.
“I’m excited to work with Frankie,” Hansen said. “I’m excited to see him every single day cause he’s got that type of personality.”