4 most important Panthers players at the Falcons in Week 5

(Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) Kawann Short
(Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images) Kawann Short /
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Carolina Panthers
(Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports) Donte Jackson /

Donte Jackson – Carolina Panthers CB

Donte Jackson has performed well throughout the season so far. But Sunday’s game at the Falcons could propel him into the conversation of shutdown cornerbacks if he holds his own against the considerable talent of Calvin Ridley.

It doesn’t appear as if Julio Jones will take his place in the lineup thanks to a hamstring injury, and even if he did declare himself fit, the All-Pro wouldn’t be anything close to 100 percent. Ridley’s outstanding ability to get down the field has the potential to hurt the Carolina Panthers if Jackson fails to do enough. But the signs regarding his transition to a No. 1 corner have been encouraging through Week 4.

The former LSU standout already has two interceptions and four passes defended this season. This is even more impressive when one considers that Jackson missed most of Week 1 with an injury.

However, this represents his sternest test of the campaign to date and one that will tell us plenty about what we can expect from the player against one of the league’s most dynamic pass-catchers.

If Jackson can pass this supreme test, then his evolution to a top performer at the corner position will be complete. His play this season has been far more refined than at any stage of his professional career so far and it will be interesting to see how the 2018 second-round pick gets on in the face of the sternest of competition.