Alpha CB battle building between Jaycee Horn and Donte Jackson

(Alex Hicks Jr./Spartanburg Herald-Journal via IMAGN Content Services) Jaycee Horn
(Alex Hicks Jr./Spartanburg Herald-Journal via IMAGN Content Services) Jaycee Horn /

There is an intriguing battle developing within the Carolina Panthers between Jaycee Horn and Donte Jackson for the No. 1 cornerback spot.

Things are heating up on the defense for the Carolina Panthers. Rookie Jaycee Horn has added some intensity to the cornerback position and as a result, forcing some friendly competition to the veteran Donte Jackson in the process.

The speed demons play the ball differently. Jackson covers the better mid to long-range and tends to use his speed to cover deep threat plays or for injecting himself at the last second for breaking up the pass.

Horn’s style is different.

He doesn’t give the receivers much room which forces the quarterback to make pass plays into the tight windows which the South Carolina product loves to pick off.

The No. 8 overall selection is built for more contact plays and tight coverage than Jackson, which can be great for shutting down the offense.

However, this type of cornerback could also draw costly penalties, especially in their rookie season. Something that Panthers head coach Matt Rhule noted regarding Horn’s hand placement during the early stages of training camp.

It should be noted that Jackson was tied ninth across the league for most interceptions (3) and earned a 70.4 grade from Pro Football Focus despite his struggles early on due to a toe injury.

Here is a side-by-side breakdown of the two cornerbacks

Jaycee Horn – Carolina Panthers CB

  • 40 yard dash time: 4.39 seconds
  • Experience: Rookie
  • Height: 6-foot-1
  • Weight: 205 pounds

Donte Jackson – Carolina Panthers CB

  • 40 yard dash time: 4.32 seconds
  • Experience: 4 years
  • Height: 5-foot-10′
  • Weight: 180 pounds

The combination of these two styles will make for an interesting season. One can see Horn playing the short to middle button hook/slant plays with Jackson covering the deeper routes.

Jeremy Chinn should also assist plenty in covering the backfield and Denzel Perryman is set to lock down the middle providing the free-agent signing beats out Jermaine Carter for the starting job, which is still up in the air at training camp.

As far as who will get the No. 1 cornerback spot for the Panthers in 2021, it is still too early to say. But after training camp, I predict it will be Horn.

During his debut in preseason workouts, he has shown impeccable timing, speed, athleticism, and a swagger that affects the players around him positively.

Simply put, Horn has the makings for becoming a franchise corner.

Jackson is a tremendous athlete, there is no question about it. He is one of the fastest and most athletic players to ever turn out for the Panthers.

The former LSU star has the experience of playing against some of the strongest teams in the league, including the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers twice in an extremely tough NFC South.

However, he is also in the last year of his contract and will need to show his skill set can mesh well with the new direction the defense is going under Rhule and Phil Snow.

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Together, Horn and Jackson will bring a “smash and dash” signature to the field that will be difficult for even the best offensive coordinators to plan for.