6 Panthers players with most to prove after the bye week

(Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Tre Boston
(Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports) Tre Boston /
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Carolina Panthers
(Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports) Troy Pride Jr. /

Troy Pride Jr. – Carolina Panthers CB

At least from the outside looking in it appears as if Troy Pride Jr. might have been thrust into the starting rotation a little too soon. The Carolina Panthers didn’t have many alternatives following the injury to Donte Jackson and their decision to cut ties with Eli Apple after he cried off practice with a hamstring injury that the coaching staff felt was good to go.

Pride Jr. was seen as a development prospect when he was taken in the fourth round of the 2020 NFL Draft. He has elite speed, but harnessing this in a positive way is the difference between an average player and a potentially good one.

The former Notre Dame standout has endured a baptism of fire so far, which has left some questioning whether he has what it takes to be a prominent starter at the next level. The Panthers won’t give up on Pride Jr just yet, but he still has plenty to prove in the four games following the bye week.

Pride Jr. had given up 24 receptions on 30 targets from 58 percent of Carolina’s defensive snaps prior to their game at the Vikings. His level of production is worthy of a 34.0 grade from Pro Football Focus, which is a damning indictment of the way he started life in a professional environment.

Hopefully, this steep learning serves him well both next season and beyond.