Carolina Panthers camp: 3 big questions at cornerback

(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) Eli Apple
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) Eli Apple /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) Donte Jackson /

Can Donte Jackson become a shutdown corner?

The Carolina Panthers will be relying heavily on Donte Jackson in 2020. Their former No. 1 option James Bradberry opted for a big-money move to the New York Giants in free agency. And the decision-makers chose not to bring back Ross Cockrell or Javien Elliott.

This has put the onus squarely on Jackson’s shoulder to make a huge step up in class. The former LSU star has two seasons of solid production under his belt. And this experience will stand him in good stead as he looks to become a corner of shutdown quality next season.

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Jackson has all the physical and athletic tools needed to make a real go of this chance. He is arguably the NFL’s quickest cornerback. And he is also fluid enough in his movement to cope with any sort of challenge.

If the 2018 second-round pick can cut out some rash decision making during the upcoming campaign, then the Panthers are going to have a possible No. 1 corner option for the foreseeable future. Jackson gave up just 38 receptions from 60 targets last time out on his way to a modest 55.6 grade from Pro Football Focus. But covering the opposition’s best receiving threat consistently is a trip into the unknown for the player.

Jackson will need to impress heading into the penultimate year of his deal. He stands to make a base salary of just $917,502 in 2020. So if he can prove to the organization his shutdown capabilities at the position, then it might see a multi-million dollar contract extension come his way next year.