4 Carolina Panthers facing make-or-break seasons in 2020

(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) Donte Jackson
(Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images) Donte Jackson /
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Donte Jackson, Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Donte Jackson /

CAROLINA PANTHERS. 1. player. Scouting Report. Pick Analysis. CB. DONTEJACKSON. 87

Carolina Panthers Player No. 1: Donte Jackson (CB)

James Bradberry departed the Carolina Panthers in free agency for a big-money move to the New York Giants. Donte Jackson will take over as the No. 1 cornerback option for the organization next season and much is expected of the former second-round pick.

Jackson will line up across from new free agent signing Eli Apple from the outside. And the player will likely face some of the top wide receivers in the NFL this season.

He has never wanted for talent. The third-year starter out of LSU has phenomenal speed and the footwork and coverage skills needed to succeed in the NFL. Jackson has done reasonably well applying those skills on the field, albeit against the secondary threats of most teams.

Jackson had his fair share of ups and downs in his first two seasons. Most of his struggles stem from losing the football in the air or letting his emotions take over between plays. But this represents a real opportunity for the corner to prove he can fill Bradberry’s void and make this spot his own for the foreseeable future.

The Panthers’ secondary has undergone some substantial changes this offseason. This has left them devoid of veteran leadership. And Jackson is going to be counted on heavily to produce the goods.

If he fails to deliver, then Carolina has enough money available next spring to go after a prominent player at the position. However, should Jackson live up to expectation then it could result in a substantial payday heading into the final year of his rookie deal.