Panthers schedule: 4 matchups to watch in week 1 clash with Raiders

Dean Jones
(Photo by Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty Images) D.J. Moore
(Photo by Steve Limentani/ISI Photos/Getty Images) D.J. Moore /
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Troy Pride Jr., Panthers Schedule
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Troy Pride Jr. /

Troy Pride Jr. vs Henry Ruggs III

Providing the Carolina Panthers do not bring in a veteran cornerback between now and when competitive action gets back underway. It could mean fourth-round pick Troy Pride Jr. has a real chance of being a day one starter for the franchise.

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Should this scenario come to fruition, the Notre Dame product could come up against the Las Vegas Raiders’ first-round wide receiver Henry Ruggs III. The former Alabama standout saw his stock surge during the evaluation process to ensure he was the second wideout off the board and even went ahead of Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb.

Pride Jr. has plenty of skills at his disposal and has the potential to be a valuable contributor if he reaches his ceiling. This will be a battle between two of the quickest players you will see throughout the league and is promises to be a fascinating encounter between two talented rookies.

Having speed to burn is one thing. But it’s how you harness that at the NFL level that ensures a successful transition into the college system. Both Pride Jr. and Ruggs have boom-or-bust potential in that sense, which adds another element to their expected matchup during the first weekend of the Panthers schedule.

Defensive coordinator Phil Snow has a relatively young secondary to work with, so how they develop during training camp is going to be pivotal to their short-term chances.