Carolina Panthers: 4 new battles to watch against the Falcons

(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) Julio Jones
(Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) Julio Jones /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) Julio Jones /

Carolina Panthers Matchup No. 4: Donte Jackson vs Julio Jones

Donte Jackson is set for a huge step-up in class next season. The cornerback is now the Carolina Panthers’ No. 1 option after they let James Bradberry go in free agency. And the former LSU star will come up against some of the NFL’s most productive wide receivers on a consistent basis.

This will see Jackson line up against Julio Jones when the Panthers clash with the Atlanta Falcons. The Alabama product is one of the true greats of the game. And if he continues this exceptional trend going forward, then he is a lock for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

There is nothing that Jones cannot do on the field. He has a rare blend of size, elite speed, and hand-eye coordination that has to be seen to be believed.

This will be the acid test for Jackson in terms of his ability to transition into a potential shutdown corner. And any success he can get from this matchup will be highly encouraging.

Jones has lived up to his billing and more after the Falcons took him No. 6 overall back in 2011. The wideout has received grades of more than 90 from Pro Football Focus in each of the last five seasons. And his career stats currently stand at an eye-popping 797 receptions, 12,125 receiving yard, and 57 touchdowns. This also includes a catch success rate of 63.7 percent and a yards-per-catch average of 15.2.

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Putting Eli Apple or fourth-rounder Troy Pride Jr. on Jones during their inter-divisional matchups with the Falcons is going to do them no favors whatsoever. So expect to see Jackson shadowing the perennial Pro Bowler wherever he goes on the field.