2 FAs Carolina Panthers should pair with Donte Jackson and 1 to avoid
By Noah Bryce
Cornerback is still a need for a young Carolina Panthers defense and the free-agent season so far has been a disappointment.
Cornerback has been a revolving door position for the Carolina Panthers ever since the departure of Josh Norman and in some ways even before then. While the former No.1 corner was amazing during his time with the team, the other side of the field was a bit of a question mark. That trend has continued along with a series of questionable moves that leave the fanbase looking for better options this offseason.
The Panthers went out and got their cornerback of the future in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft with James Bradberry. The cornerback was a breath of fresh air for a Carolina team that had high hopes of building a dynasty.
After some rookie growing pains, the team could begin to silence the doubters of the decision to let Norman go. That is until the rising star was confusingly allowed to walk after the 2019 season.
In the third round of the same draft, the Panthers traded for Daryl Worley and looked to have a pair of young stars in the making until inconsistent play and off-field struggles derailed his early career, leading to his eventual trade to the Philadelphia Eagles for Torrey Smith.
Carolina Panthers CB Donte Jackson looks the real deal.
Then came the 2018 draft and the selection of current No.1 corner Donte Jackson. While at the time no one expected the LSU stud to be the top corner for the Panthers, things have changed and his playmaking ability has led to a starting role.
Jackson has shown great coverage and ball hawk abilities in three seasons on the roster, never dipping below three interceptions in a year and giving up a completion percentage of only 56.9 percent last season while holding the average passer rating to a paltry 79.2.
But the Panthers have run into the same issue a lot of teams do, that is who to put beside their No. 1 and the only move so far this offseason was to sign journeyman Rashaan Melvin to a one-year deal.
A player that is consistent in his ability to move on quickly and not play a full season.
While Jackson locks down the likes of Julio Jones, Mike Evans, and Michael Thomas, no one has shown consistent ability to successfully cover those teams’ other targets. A place that is often overlooked, but no good offense has just one receiver and you need to cover more than just the big name. Especially in an NFC South where everyone has incredibly talented receiving cores.
With that out of the way, let’s take a look at the available pieces and which would be a good fit for the Panthers to put alongside Jackson in 2021 and one that should be avoided.