4 Panthers players who were unsung heroes at the Saints in Week 7

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) Sam Franklin
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) Sam Franklin /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) Eli Apple /

Pick Analysis. ELIAPPLE. 3. Scouting Report. CAROLINA PANTHERS. player. 87. CB

Eli Apple – Carolina Panthers CB

Eli Apple‘s time getting significant reps has been a long time coming. The cornerback has endured a torrid time with hamstring injuries since signing a one-year, $3 million deal in free agency. But he marked his first spell on defense with a performance that really caught the eye at times.

Apple is going to be a big help to a unit that has been a pleasant surprise this season. He was on the field for 40 percent of Carolina’s defensive snaps and managed to make his presence felt despite Drew Brees taking advantage of the soft coverage in Phil Snow’s zone scheme.

If the Panthers can get some consistent production from Apple, it would give them a strong core trio alongside Rasul Douglas and Donte Jackson going forward. This also has the potential to take fourth-round pick Troy Pride Jr. out of the firing line after the speedster has gone through his fair share of growing pains through the first seven weeks.

Although he’s missed the best part of half a season, there is still time for Apple to carve out a future in Carolina. He is probably never going to get another chance of a starting role if the former No. 10 overall selection fails to produce with the Panthers, but if his return to the field is followed by continued progression once back to full health, the player’s time with the organization might last a little longer than originally thought.