Panthers: 3 position groups under the most pressure in 2020

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) Michael Schofield
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) Michael Schofield /
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Donte Jackson, Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) Donte Jackson /

Carolina Panthers Position No. 2: Cornerback

Another area of the field that is coming into the season with incredible pressure is the Carolina Panthers’ cornerback room. The franchise let James Bradberry, Ross Cockrell, and Javien Elliott go in free agency. And it has left defensive coordinator Phil Snow with an unproven group looking to make their mark.

The No. 1 position will be filled by Donte Jackson in 2020. The former second-round pick has made an impressive start to his career. But he will need to cut out silly mistakes to make the position his own long-term.

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There is just no telling how Jackson is going to fare coming up against some of the best receivers in the NFL more consistently. He has the speed to go down the field with anybody. But this is a completely different ball game to which he has experienced before.

Carolina allocated their fourth-round pick in 2019 on speedy corner Troy Pride Jr. out of Notre Dame. He is a little raw coming into the league. But if the coaching staff can harness his skill set in a positive way. Then this pick is going to be a steal.

Putting too much on the rookie’s shoulders initially will do more harm than good. Carolina was all-too-aware of this if their acquisition of free-agent Eli Apple following the draft is any indication.

The former No. 10 overall selection has flattered to deceive during his career so far. And Apple will need to make every snap count during what appears to be his final chance of being an NFL starter.

Seventh-rounder Stantley Thomas-Oliver III needs more experience playing the position after transitioning from a wide receiver in college. But there is plenty to like about his early progress and his ability going forward.

The likes of Cole Luke and Corn Elder will be fighting for spots. But neither is expected to make a lasting contribution.