4 ways the Carolina Panthers can secure a winning record in 2020

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Christian McCaffrey
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Christian McCaffrey /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Tre Boston /

Improvement from the secondary

It is all change for the Carolina Panthers’ secondary in 2020 following a number of key departures in free agency. James Bradberry, Ross Cockrell, and Javien Elliott were not brought back after mixed success at cornerback last time out. And the organization decided to move on from safety Eric Reid just one year after signing a lucrative deal.

This has left the secondary with a completely different feel to it. But whether they can cope in the face of what is expected to be some concerted pressure during the campaign remains to be seen.

Donte Jackson is the Panthers’ undisputed No. 1 cornerback option. The likes of T.J. Green, Eli Apple, and fourth-round pick Troy Pride Jr. have all shown promise at training camp, while Corn Elder’s impressive play during team drills also makes him a candidate for the rotation.

The safety position is led by Tre Boston, who enjoyed arguably the best season of his career in 2019 and was rewarded with a three-year, $18 million extension this offseason. Free-agent signing Juston Burris has made his presence felt during camp and could become a valuable contributor next season. And there is also the prospect of using second-rounder Jeremy Chinn on the backend to further enhance their prospects.

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If this area of the field can live up to its end of the bargain, it is going to be a pleasant surprise, and one that might see the Panthers emerge as one of the NFL’s surprise packages next season. That might be easier said than done, but there is enough talent for them to get the job done despite expected growing pains.