Did the Panthers secondary exceed expectations in 2020?
By Dean Jones
How could they improve?
They may have performed above expectations, but there is still much work that needs to be done in order for the Carolina Panthers secondary to be relied upon fully. This will undoubtedly come with some personnel changes during the offseason period, and using the No. 8 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft on a cornerback is a high possibility.
Carolina has to get better in man coverage on the outside. Donte Jackson looked the part when he finally rid himself of his toe issue following the bye week. So if they can get someone to put opposite the former LSU speedster it might finally see the end of the soft zone coverage deployed by Phil Snow at times when the Panthers weren’t getting the required pressure from their defensive front.
There is also the problem at the safety spot to consider. Tre Boston and Juston Burris were inconsistent at best during the campaign and the prospect of putting rookie sensation Jeremy Chinn at his preferred position following a year at outside linebacker is an exciting one.
Chinn would provide the backend with energy and big-play ability that was sorely lacking this season. This would leave the Panthers short of quality at the second level. But their linebacker corps could be another positional group that gets a makeover in 2021.
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If Carolina went into the upcoming campaign with Jackson, Elder, Boston, and Chinn, together with drafting Alabama’s stud cornerback Patrick Surtain in the first round, you’ve got yourself a secondary with tremendous potential.