5 most underrated Carolina Panthers players heading into 2021

(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Donte Jackson
(Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images) Donte Jackson /
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Carolina Panthers
(Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports) Donte Jackson /

Donte Jackson – Carolina Panthers CB

When it comes to top-tier cornerbacks across the league, Donte Jackson rarely – if ever – enters the discussion. However, that might be about to change in 2021.

The former second-round pick produced made some eye-catching performances over the final few games of 2020. A stark contrast to what Jackson managed to come up with during a frustrating campaign overall due to an ongoing toe problem.

He was one of Pro Football Focus’ highest-graded corners over the final few games. The only ones Jackson was fully healthy for during the campaign.

The LSU product could be set for bigger things in 2021. Jackson now has the benefit of two premier corners alongside him in free-agent signing A.J. Bouye and No. 8 overall selection Jaycee Horn, who comes to the next level with shutdown potential.

Everything is in place for Jackson to reach a completely different level next season. There’s no way he’ll be ignored after that.

Having some added incentive financially should also bring that extra bit of effort from Jackson’s perspective. The player is heading into the final year of his deal and an increase in production could add plenty to his demands when he heads to the negotiating table next spring.

Carolina would be wise to keep him around in this eventuality. Although it’s worth remembering the Panthers let both Josh Norman and James Bradberry leave at the peak of their powers.