What each Carolina Panthers rookie will struggle with during 2021

Dean Jones
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Jaycee Horn
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Jaycee Horn /
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Carolina Panthers
(Joseph Cress/Iowa Hawk Central via IMAGN images) Daviyon Nixon /

Daviyon Nixon – Carolina Panthers DT

  • Assistance in run support.

Acquiring a player with Daviyon Nixon’s talent is a steal whichever way one looks at it. The defensive tackle wreaked havoc for Iowa during his final season in college and if he can bring the same to the Carolina Panthers, they’ll have a real player on their hands.

Nixon’s ability to generate pressure from the interior is an eye-catching feature of his game. But there is some work to be done when it comes to run-stopping that the rookie needs to refine in the coming weeks.

There isn’t any immediate pressure on Nixon to start, which should work in his favor. Some character concerns also need to be quashed, but a spot on the rotation is more than a possibility in Year 1.

Keith Taylor Jr. – Carolina Panthers CB

  • Zone coverage.

Considering the production Keith Taylor Jr. displayed at Washington, it was a surprise to see him slip to Day 3 of the draft. Others’ loss might be Carolina’s gain, with the player’s ability in press coverage something that could provide immediate assistance within the secondary.

It’s a different proposition in zone coverage, which is where Taylor struggles at times. His route anticipation and ball tracking need brushing up, so it might do more harm than good putting him in these situations in 2021.

Taylor has to find his niche within a cornerback unit that is now stacked with talent. Much like the situation with Jaycee Horn, expecting elite production right away is unrealistic and it bears even more significance in the fifth-round pick’s case.

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