5 free-agent cornerbacks the Panthers should target in 2021

(Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports) Michael Davis
(Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports) Michael Davis /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports) Chidobe Awuzie /

Chidobe Awuzie

  • 2020 team – Dallas Cowboys

Chidobe Awuzie is one of the few free-agent cornerbacks on the market who might have his best years ahead of him. The former second-round pick came into the NFL with some lofty expectations that he’s failed to live up to as yet. But this would be a low-risk, high reward pickup by the Carolina Panthers and one that could make all the difference.

Awuzie did struggle for the Dallas Cowboys in 2020.

But show me a Dallas defender who didn’t go through their share of complications.

The introduction of a new defensive coordinator in Dan Quinn should get the unit back to some sort of competitive level. However, it could mean players like Awuzie will be on the outside looking in.

A change of scenery is just what the Colorado product needs at this point of his career. Things just haven’t gone according to plan in Dallas, which is fine. But what comes next in a different environment will shape the rest of his playing days in the NFL.

It’s easy to forget that Awuzie was one of the league’s most promising young players at the position after a 2019 season that saw him give up just 56 receptions from 90 targets on his way to a solid 72.2 grade from Pro Football Focus. If he can get back to this sort of form, then Carolina would have a productive cover presence on their hands.