Can Troy Pride Jr. emerge as a starter with the Carolina Panthers?

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Troy Pride Jr.
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) Troy Pride Jr. /

Can fourth-round pick Troy Pride Jr. emerge as a day one starter for the Carolina Panthers in 2020?

The Carolina Panthers are now just 25 days away from their season opener against the Las Vegas Raiders. A remarkable and unprecedented offseason will finally come to a conclusion in the coming weeks. And we will finally see just what sort of things we can expect from this new-look group in 2020.

New head coach Matt Rhule head into his first NFL campaign with plenty of uncertainty. The Carolina Panthers are undertaking a significant rebuild. And although their offense has some exceptional weapons with serious potential. Things appear far more uncertain from the outside looking in on the defensive side of the ball.

Continuing our countdown feature ahead of the new season, we now turn our attention to Carolina’s No. 25. Troy Pride Jr. was taken in the fourth round by the Panthers in 2020. And this should come with an immediate chance to see the field prominently next season.

The former Notre Dame cornerback might still be a little rough around the edges. But he boasts some outstanding skills that could see Pride Jr. develop into a productive player in the future.

Troy Pride Jr. brings a strong skill set to the Carolina Panthers.

Rookie cornerbacks tend to go through their fair share of struggles against experience wide receivers at the next level. Pride Jr. will be getting thrown in at the deep end with no preseason games on the schedule. And it is going to be incredibly interesting to see how he copes against some exceptional passing attacks.

Pride Jr. was a real force for the Fighting Irish. And opposing quarterbacks thought twice about throwing in his direction in 2019.

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His elite speed allows him to go down the field with ease. And Pride Jr. used his length to good effect as a college cornerback.

There are some areas of his game that will need to improve. His tackling in open space needs brushing up. And putting his athletic attributes to better use is another element that will need to come on in a professional environment.

This could end up being a shrewd pick by the Panthers if Pride Jr. reaches his ceiling. Carolina brought Eli Apple into the organization following the draft. And this should take some of the pressure off the rookie during his initial period of transition.

Plenty of other players will also be looking to make their presence felt during training camp in a bid to make the 53-man roster. But the Panthers have high hopes for Pride Jr. both in the short and long-term.

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It is going to be a case of putting Pride Jr. on the field and seeing how he gets on. There are bound to be some inconsistencies along the way. But if the corner can show promise, develop with every game, and prove capable of shouldering responsibility. Then the Panthers are going to have a player with substantial promise on their hands.

How much Pride Jr. contributes in 2020 will be entirely down to the player. His competitive edge will ensure maximum effort in the face of stern competition. But the rookie will find out quickly that the NFL is a completely different ball game.

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Pride Jr. might be seen as a work in progress by some. But the Panthers are relatively devoid of options at the position and might decide to throw him in at the deep end from Week 1.