Panthers: Ross Cockrell injury complicates things for team

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GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 24: Defensive back Ross Cockrell #37 of the New York Giants intercepts a pass intended for wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals in the second half at University of Phoenix Stadium on December 24, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 24: Defensive back Ross Cockrell #37 of the New York Giants intercepts a pass intended for wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald #11 of the Arizona Cardinals in the second half at University of Phoenix Stadium on December 24, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /
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The injury to Cockrell makes things complicated for the Carolina Panthers….

It seems like they are dropping like files. Although that may seem a bit insensitive to say, it is unfortunately true. Saturday, right tackle Daryl Williams suffered an injury that may be cause for concern. Now, cornerback Ross Cockrell suffered an injury on Monday that caused the abrupt end to the Carolina Panthers practice.

Per a report from the Charlotte Observer, Cockrell got caught up with Torrey Smith on a catch that resulted in a touchdown. Cockrell yelled, “My leg is broke,” and surrounded by players who kneeled out of respect, he was taken off the field by the trainer. Coach Ron Rivera ended practice after that play.

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Last year was the best of his career. He played in nine games, intercepting three passes and recording 37 tackles.

Cockrell was the starting nickel back for the Carolina Panthers per the most recent depth chart from OurLads.com.

Given how well Cockrell played last year, and the energy he has brought to the team so far in minicamp and practices, this is yet another big loss for the team. He figured to play a role within the defense and his speed would have been an asset to the team.

Listed as the No. 2 nickel back on the depth chart, this now leaves an opportunity for Donte Jackson. Of course, this is not how you want a player to earn playing time. It is not that he is not deserving. The last thing you want to see is an injury, especially before the first preseason game even takes place. With Jackson’s cockiness and tremendous playmaking ability, this leaves the position in good hands, even if he may be just a rookie. With that in mind, there will definitely be some growing pains.

If there is one upside to this injury, it is that Cockrell is on a two-year deal. If this injury is serious enough to the point where he has to miss a bulk of the season (and it sounds like it is,) then at least the Carolina Panthers can retain him for one more season. Following the conclusion of the 2019 season, Cockrell and the Carolina Panthers can negotiate a new deal depending on performance.

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This is something you never want to see. Hopefully, Cockrell can recover from this quickly and contribute to the team. He has the chance to be a valuable player for this defense as they look to remain one of the best in the National Football League.

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