If your immediate thought upon hearing the "news" earlier this month that the Carolina Panthers planned to move Jeremy Chinn to a full-time safety role, was "I thought he was a safety?" you weren't alone.
Chinn played all over the formation as a rookie, from linebacker to safety, as the Panthers tried to put the playmaking defender in a position to make tackles.
Ahead of training camp next month, Chinn told SiriusXM NFL Radio that the plan all along was to use him in a jack-of-all-trades role. Defensive coordinator Phil Snow told Chinn before last season he wouldn't have a defined role.
"(Snow) told me that he had plans for me starting early," Chinn said. "He really didn't have a position for me, whether it be linebacker or safety. He actually kinda had like a flex position. So he was like, 'You're gonna have to learn this position.' I was like, 'All right.' I didn't know what it was. I was like all right whatever it is, I'll be ready for it. I come in, and actually, they play me at SAM linebacker starting primarily. I moved back to safety, as well, throughout the season. Really, I just came in with a mindset -- you can use me wherever, as long as you're using me."
According to Pro Football Focus, Chinn lined up in the box on 392 snaps, along the D-line on 84, at slot corner 230 times, at wide corner 24, and as a free safety 237 snaps. For those keeping track, that's 491 snaps in a DB role and 476 snaps more of an LB role.
The Panthers' plan to utilize Chinn deeper is in part to get the 220-pounder away from blockers and into a position to fly toward the ball without getting caught in the wash.
Given the flexibility Chinn displayed as a rookie, expect Snow to continue to utilize the youngster in various roles, even if he'll primarily be defined as a safety moving forward.