3 Panthers who are fighting for their long-term future in 2020

(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Shaq Thompson
(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images) Shaq Thompson /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) Eli Apple /

Eli Apple – Carolina Panthers CB

Eli Apple was a prospect that many people had as the best corner in the 2016 NFL Draft. His career hasn’t gone as planned so far. But he still has time to turn it around.

It is odd that the New York Giants went with a cornerback with their first pick in this draft considering they already had two great corners in Janoris Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.

Since then, Apple has had plenty of opportunities to prove himself as a valuable corner in the league, but he has yet to do that. Apple never found his place in New York and was eventually shipped to the New Orleans Saints.

With the Saints, Apple continued to struggle. He started 15 games for the Saints last season and finished the season with 4 pass deflections, and 58 total tackles. He needed to produce more to have New Orleans interested enough to bring him back.

This offseason Apple signed with the Carolina Panthers, which may be his best opportunity to prove he is a starting-caliber corner. They have struggled at the corner position in recent years so he will get all the opportunities he needs.

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If he can produce for the Panthers and put together a good season, he may find a home in Carolina. Having Donte Jackson and Eli Apple producing for the secondary could be big for the team’s future.

If Apple doesn’t perform well this season it could be his last shot at being a starting corner in the NFL. The player will still find his way on to rosters but may not get the playing time he is used to.

Apple was recently placed on injured/reserve due to a hamstring injury and will be able to return until Week 3. This is a big set back in a season he really needs to perform well.