Carolina Panthers cornerback Corn Elder is ready for a return to training camp in just a few days…
Corn Elder was a late draft choice for the Carolina Panthers one year ago, hearing his name called in Round No. 5 as the team’s fifth overall selection. The undersized cornerback made an impact in college at Miami (FL) with his tackling abilities and many expected big things out of him last season.
Unfortunately, the rookie’s season was cut dramatically short when he suffered a fractured patella early in training camp. Never having the opportunity to play an NFL game or see action during the preseason, Elder remained focused and vigilant to return.
Seeking the advice of veteran Captain Munnerlyn in the locker room, Elder shared multiple similarities with the long-time NFL defensive back. Munnerlyn himself was a late round selection and as a smaller cornerback had to make his impact with his play. Learning the role of nickel corner, Munnerlyn found success for the Panthers early and then in Minnesota before returning to Carolina.
Elder hopes to have a similar impact and given the opportunities available in the secondary, he could make an impression this season. Surrounded by seven others at his listed position, few have much more experience than Elder despite him missing an entire season.
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As a standout player for the Hurricanes, some projections had Elder listed as a draft day steal for Carolina. If even a small percentage of his anticipated statistics materialize this season, then the Panthers secondary will be drastically improving.
Anchored by James Bradberry on one side, the other cornerback position is expected to be determined during training camp and preseason play. Similarly, the battle at nickel will be important as Munnerlyn missed some time last year due to disciplinary issues.
With a new defensive coordinator, how the Panthers elect to utilize their undersized players in the slot remains to be seen. However, if Elder stays healthy, he could see plenty of playing time this year as the season progresses.
Just one from a handful of players who the Panthers know little about due to injury, now healthy, Elder may end up being a name that many forgot they knew this time last year.