5 dream free-agent targets for the Carolina Panthers in 2021

(Syndication: Cincinnati) William Jackson III
(Syndication: Cincinnati) William Jackson III /
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Carolina Panthers
(Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports) William Jackson /

William Jackson III – CB

  • 2020 team – Cincinnati Bengals

William Jackson might not be the biggest name on the free-agent market. However, his level of production with the Cincinnati Bengals has been hugely impressive in a position of need for the Carolina Panthers.

The former first-round pick out of Houston gave up just 36 receptions from 69 targets in 2020, with Jackson proving more than capable of covering outside or in the slot with equal efficiency. This is something that won’t have gone unnoticed by teams across the league in the event Cincinnati cannot keep the cornerback around and refuse to place him under the franchise tag.

Carolina needs some additional assistance within this positional group despite Donte Jackson looking like a No. 1 corner when he finally took the field at full health down the stretch. The NFL is a pass-driven league, so more will be needed if the Panthers don’t want this to become a weak link, and adding Jackson would provide them with another assured presence.

Again, this probably won’t be cheap. But if the Panthers want to take the next step forward and challenge in an NFC South that now has the defending Super Bowl champions after the Tampa Bay Buccaneers lifted the Vince Lombardi Trophy, bringing in some big names who can hit the ground running is imperative.

Adding Jackson to the fold would also allow Carolina to develop Stantley Thomas-Oliver and Troy Pride Jr. at their own pace, with both going through their fair share of complications as rookies.