3 Panthers players who need to step up in Eli Apple’s absence

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) Rasul Douglas
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) Rasul Douglas /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) Eli Apple /

Which members of the Carolina Panthers could benefit most from cornerback Eli Apple going on the injured/reserve list to start the 2020 season?

If things weren’t uncertain for the Carolina Panthers at the cornerback position before Eli Apple went down with an injury, they are now.

The free-agent signing was placed on the injured/reserve list after missing the last few days of training camp, meaning the former No. 10 overall pick will miss at least the first three weeks of the season. This was a substantial blow for the Carolina Panthers, who were counting on Apple to provide some form of veteran leadership to a group that is devoid of notable game time outside of No. 1 option Donte Jackson.

One player’s loss might be another’s gain. It will be up to those below Apple on the depth chart to stand up and be counted in the absence of a man who was poised to fill a starting spot during their Week 1 clash against the Las Vegas Raiders and beyond.

Losing Apple is a big blow. But there was no guarantee that the player was going to turn around his career with the Panthers. He has failed to live up to his high-end draft billing so far and this is clearly his final chance of making a prominent starting berth his own in the NFL.

Just how long Apple is going to out remains to be seen. The new measures enable the Panthers to bring him back after three weeks. But he is trying to overcome a series of nagging knocks that had a detrimental effect on his chances of catching the eye at camp.

Here are three Panthers players who can benefit from Apple’s enforced time on the sidelines.