A lot of big-name players stepped up this season and had huge seasons for the Carolina Panthers. Cam Newton was at the forefront of the media's attention and Steve Smith's resurgence made for an exciting season.
However, the complete turnaround this season did not come because of a few players. It happened because the backups and practice squad players were brought into the starting lineup due to injuries.
By the end of the season, there were starters on this defense whom many fans had never even heard of. Their fame did not match their play, though, as many played an integral part in a strong finish to the season.
Here are five players who contributed most when many expected the least.