5 Panthers players who could bounce back from disappointing 2020

(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) Juston Burris
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) Juston Burris /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Troy Pride Jr. /

Troy Pride Jr. – Carolina Panthers CB

To say Troy Pride Jr. went through some complications during his rookie season would be understating things ever so slightly. The cornerback endured a real baptism of fire in Year 1 of his professional career and the jury is well and truly out as to whether the Notre Dame product can turn things around.

The Carolina Panthers perhaps put too much on Pride’s shoulders in 2020. But the simple fact of the matter is they didn’t have much of a choice with the options at their disposal.

That is not the case this time around.

Carolina drafted Jaycee Horn and Keith Taylor Jr. to assist with press coverage. They also acquired the services of A.J. Bouye in free agency, although he’ll miss the first two games of the season through suspension.

This takes the pressure off Pride, which should be a boost to his overall development.

It’s easy to forget he was a fourth-round pick who was seen as a project rather than someone who could make an immediate impression. So reverting him back to this sort of role is the best possible outcome at this juncture.

If Pride can refine his game, become a force on special teams, and slot into the rotation when required, that would be classed as progress after a very low bar was set in 2020.