Can Jeremy Chinn win Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2020?

(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) Jeremy Chinn
(Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images) Jeremy Chinn /

Can intriguing rookie Jeremy Chinn mark his first year with the Carolina Panthers by winning Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2020?

We are now just 21 days away from the Carolina Panthers taking on the Las Vegas Raiders in their Week 1 opener. Excitement is already at fever pitch to see this new-look roster in a competitive environment. But whether this can correlate into a season of progression is still up in the air.

Things are hanging on a knife-edge for the Carolina Panthers in 2020. They have plenty of dynamic weapons on offense that has the potential to do some real damage. However, they go into the campaign with an inexperienced defense that might be full of exciting prospects, but that counts for nothing if they cannot get the job done against a higher standard of opposition.

Continuing our countdown feature ahead of the new season, we now turn our attention to Carolina’s No. 21. Jeremy Chinn is arguably the most intriguing player on the Panthers’ roster heading into 2020. And this down in no small part to the exceptional athleticism he brings to the table.

Jeremy Chinn can be an elite playmaker for the Carolina Panthers.

The Panthers placed a lot of faith in Chinn to trade back into the second round and select the former Southern Illinois standout. He comes into the NFL with a high ceiling and some outstanding versatility that has caught the eye considerably at training camp so far.

Just where Carolina is going to use Chinn is another matter entirely. The player can operate almost anywhere outside of the defensive line. So it would be a surprise if we didn’t see the safety line up all over the field during the early stages of the campaign.

This will give the coaching staff a better indication of Chinn’s prospects as a rookie. It is normally something that would come to the fore during the preseason. But with no games on the schedule due to COVID-19 health concerns, it is going to be a case of throwing him in at the deep end and seeing what transpires.

Chinn is a physically imposing figure for a defensive back. Playing him at outside linebacker or as a slot cornerback are two other possibilities. And his potential appears limitless if everything clicks into place right away.

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If Chinn hits the ground running as expected, it is going to put him in a strong position to win Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2020. This is an award that generally bares little significance to winning records compared to more prestigious titles like NFL MVP. And this gives the defensive weapon a realistic shot at winning the individual accolade.

There are plenty of questions for the Panthers’ defense to answer next season. A number of established veterans were moved on in a bid to turnaround their fortunes. They might be lacking in experience, but this is a fast, athletic group that is more than capable of surprising those who have already written off their chances.

Chinn is expected to be at the forefront of this. It is a lot to ask of a player who has yet to play a down at the next level. But he is not lacking in ability or confidence to be an immediate contributor.

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This might end up being yet another shrewd pick by Carolina’s front office. And if Chinn reaches or even exceeds expectations, then he is going to be a frontrunner for honors next spring.