4 Panthers players who need to step up against the Buccaneers

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Tre Boston
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Tre Boston /
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Carolina Panthers
Rasul Douglas (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images) /

Rasul Douglas – Carolina Panthers CB

Rasul Douglas was thrust into a more prominent role than he expected thanks to a morale-sapping injury to No. 1 cornerback option Donte Jackson in the first quarter.

This was nothing short of a catastrophe for the Carolina Panthers if the former LSU star is forced to miss significant time. Jackson leaves a gaping hole in an already threadbare cornerback group and Douglas is arguably the most experienced of the healthy players available.

Douglas might have been a late addition to the roster after the final cuts were made. But it was hard not to be impressed by his level of performance against the Raiders.

The corner looked assured in coverage and even came up with a huge stop on third down late in the game to further enhance his overall influence on proceedings. If Jackson ends up missing out on Sunday, then Douglas is going to be tasked with trying to stop either Mike Evans or Chris Godwin consistently.

There isn’t a cornerback in the NFL that can prevent either receiver from getting their fill. All they can do is limit just how many plays they make.

Even this is easier said than done. But Douglas can take great heart from a debut in Carolina that resulted in an eye-catching 75.6 grade from Pro Football Focus.