Donte Jackson certainly looked like the No. 1 cornerback the Carolina Panthers hoped he would be over the final four games of the season. But to say there is a problem on the depth chart behind the former LSU speedster would be something of an understatement.
Corn Elder is no longer around after signing for the Detroit Lions in free agency, with Rasul Douglas also sitting on the free-agent scrapheap despite some interest in his services so far. This leaves the Panthers with Jackson, Troy Pride Jr., Stantley Thomas-Oliver, Myles Hartsfield, and free-agent arrival Rashaan Melvin as their current options, which aren’t the strongest in the world by any stretch of the imagination.
It would be a jaw-dropping decision by Carolina if they didn’t try and fix this issue during the 2021 NFL Draft. They might even decide to allocate the No. 8 overall selection on a long-term partner for Jackson in the form of a top prospect such as Patrick Surtain, Caleb Farley, or Jaycee Horn if the top-four quarterbacks are off the board by then.
If the Panthers can get a solid outside coverage guy who can make an impression from the word go, it could make all the difference to a defense that grew in stature as the 2020 season went on. Jackson himself is entering a contract year, so that will also be at the back of Carolina’s mind this offseason.