5 Panthers role players who will thrive on Phil Snow’s defense in 2021

(Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports) Marquis Haynes
(Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports) Marquis Haynes /
4 of 5
Carolina Panthers
(Vasha Hunt-USA TODAY Sports) Keith Taylor Jr. /

Keith Taylor Jr. – Carolina Panthers CB

Most of the focus will be on the cornerback trio of Jaycee Horn, Donte Jackson, and A.J. Bouye in 2021. They are set to form the starting trio within the secondary during the season, although the free-agent signing will be suspended for the first two games for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy during his time with the Denver Broncos.

This means that another player on the depth chart needs to stand up and be counted until Bouye is permitted to see the field. The task might fall to Keith Taylor Jr., a fifth-round pick out of Washington that could become a useful addition to the roster with a smooth transition.

There are some improvements needed by Taylor. And the struggles of rookie cornerbacks during their initial adjustment are well documented.

However, if Phil Snow sees enough in the player to warrant some significant responsibility from the outset, it could see Taylor beat out the likes of Rashaan Melvin, Troy Pride Jr., and Stantley Thomas-Oliver to No. 4 on the depth chart.

Just how Taylor performs in preseason games will tell us plenty about what we can expect from the rookie initially. His length and ability in press coverage is something that could assist the Panthers and if Snow doesn’t put too much on his shoulders, he could emerge as a surprising contributor with a little more refinement.