6 defensive players on the roster bubble ahead of Panthers 2021 camp

(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) Sean Chandler
(Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) Sean Chandler /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Stantley Thomas-Oliver /

Stantley Thomas-Oliver III – Carolina Panthers CB

There was nothing wrong with Stantley Thomas-Oliver III’s production as a rookie. In fact, it was probably better than expected from a seventh-round pick still learning how to play cornerback.

However, the Carolina Panthers were aggressive in pursuit of strengthening this area of the field during the offseason, so Thomas-Oliver faces a fight to make the roster once again.

This is something he managed to do last summer, although he was brought along gradually as expected. Thomas-Oliver needs to take on board the experiences gained during the previous campaign and put them to good use if he harbors any hopes of becoming a prominent part of the rotation in 2021.

The former Florida International star has a lot going for him from an athletic standpoint. There was the odd blip that isn’t uncommon with first-year corners, but what comes next will define Thomas-Oliver’s future in Carolina.

There is fierce competition for places following the arrivals of Jaycee Horn, A.J. Bouye, Keith Taylor Jr., and Rashaan Melvin. This makes it more difficult for Thomas-Oliver to stamp his mark, although it shouldn’t be ruled out entirely at this juncture.

Carolina couldn’t afford to wait around in the hope Thomas-Oliver or even Troy Pride Jr. became potential starting options. It will be intriguing to see how both have developed their respective skill sets during the offseason.