5 Panthers players we should see more of after the bye

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Stantley Thomas-Oliver
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Stantley Thomas-Oliver /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) Troy Pride Jr. /

Troy Pride Jr. – Carolina Panthers CB

To say that Troy Pride Jr. has endured a rough start to his time as a professional would be something of an understatement. The Carolina Panthers took the Notre Dame speedster with their fourth-round pick and the jury is still out as to whether he can become a prolific starting cornerback in the NFL.

A little perspective might be prudent where Pride Jr. is concerned. Rookie corners always tend to through more growing pains than most other positions and it’s not like Carolina drafted him to be a plug-and-play starter from the word go.

The Panthers’ situation within the unit has meant Pride Jr., has probably seen more time on the field than he thought. Donte Jackson has dealt with a toe injury all season and Eli Apple was released having barely made an impact.

Pride Jr. has been on the field for 59 percent of Carolina’s defensive snaps in 2020. He has given up 25 receptions from 34 targets and has a lowly 38.2 grade from Pro Football Focus, which is a damning indictment of how much he is struggling with the transition.

However, the Panthers don’t have anything to lose in their remaining four games, so getting Pride Jr. even more involved might be beneficial.

If it doesn’t work, so what?

At least Matt Rhule and his staff will know how much work needs to be done with Pride Jr. this offseason and whether or not he can be relied upon to produce the goods moving forward.