5 Panthers draft picks who will have the biggest impact in 2021

Dean Jones
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) Jaycee Horn
(Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images) Jaycee Horn /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports) Jaycee Horn /

Jaycee Horn – Carolina Panthers CB

  • 1st round – No. 8 overall

There were more than a few eyebrows raised when the Carolina Panthers selected cornerback Jaycee Horn at No. 8. But judging by the discussions held between the player and the organization beforehand, it’s clear he was arguably their top priority heading into the all-important draft weekend.

Horn is ultra-competitive and fits the mold of what head coach Matt Rhule is trying to build in Carolina. The former South Carolina sensation comes from good stock and does his best work in press coverage, which is an area where the Panthers really struggled at times during the 2020 campaign.

Considering free-agent signing A.J. Bouye will miss the first two games of the 2021 season due to suspension, Horn will be thrown in at the deep end opposite No. 1 option Donte Jackson from the outset. This is sure to be fine with him and although rookie corners tend to go through more growing pains than most, there is plenty of reasons to be encouraged about his potential.

If Horn can hold his own and make big plays in an NFC South division that is loaded with playmakers, then it’s going to benefit Carolina an untold amount. The rookie has boundless enthusiasm that will transition well to others around him, so this is another element that might give a young and improving defense a tremendous lift next season.