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Which Carolina Panthers player will be the next Hall of Famer?

Julius Peppers and Steve Smith seem to be the next likely candidates.

CANTON, Ohio — Sam Mills joins Kevin Greene, Reggie White and Bill Polian as those with Carolina Panthers ties to make the Pro Football Hall of Fame when Mills gets enshrined this weekend.

And more Panthers could soon be on the way.

Darin Gantt, a longtime beat writer of the team who is now with the Panther's website, is on the selection committee.

WCNC Charlotte asked him which Carolina Panthers players might soon make into Canton.

Credit: AP
Carolina Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith (89) reacts during player introductions prior to an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Charlotte, NC Sunday, Nov. 3, 2013. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)

STEVE SMITH: Eligible now (Semifinalist in 2022)

Gantt: "I think Steve's got a really strong case. I think Steve deserves to be in Canton. If you compare his numbers and what he was able to do to some of the receivers who are finalists now who maybe played with a better grade of quarterback, Steve put up a lot of numbers. He's eighth on the all-time receiving list, and I think he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame."

Credit: AP
Carolina Panthers defensive end Julius Peppers defends during the second half of an NFL football game against the Cleveland Browns, Sunday, Dec. 9, 2018, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Ron Schwane)

JULIUS PEPPERS: Eligible in 2024

Gantt: "If you look at his accomplishments, he's second all-time in forced fumbles and fourth on the all-time sack list. All the guys above him are already in and a lot of guys below. A lot of guys that haven't accomplished the things Julius has, they got in first ballot."

Credit: AP
FILE - In this Sept. 12, 2019, file photo, Carolina Panthers middle linebacker Luke Kuechly (59) runs a play against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the first half of an NFL football game in Charlotte, N.C. Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly is retiring from the NFL after eight seasons. The 28-year-old Kuechly made the surprising announcement Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020, on the team’s website. (AP Photo/Mike McCarn)

LUKE KUECHLY: Eligible in 2025

Gantt: "There's a modern complement to Luke in Patrick Willis who was a first-time finalist this year. If you stack their careers up, they're very similar. The only real difference is that Luke has that Defensive Player of the Year award."

Credit: AP
Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) warms up before an NFL football game against the New Orleans Saints in New Orleans, Sunday, Jan. 2, 2022. (AP Photo/Butch Dill)

CAM NEWTON: Still active

Gantt: "When Cam Newton is finished playing, there's going to be a conversation about him in terms of the Hall of Fame. I know it will be an interesting conversation, everything with Cam always is. But Cam Newton did things on the football field no one else has ever done."

Contact Nick Carboni at ncarboni@wcnc.com and follow him on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

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