5 Panthers position battles that could be decided in preseason Week 2

(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Sam Franklin
(Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) Sam Franklin /
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Carolina Panthers
(Alex Hicks Jr./Spartanburg Herald-Journal via IMAGN Content Services) Troy Pride Jr. /

Carolina Panthers CB4 and CB5

A.J. Bouye’s absence for the first two games of the 2021 season only makes this position battle all the more important. The Carolina Panthers have their starting duo locked up in Donte Jackson and No. 8 overall selection Jaycee Horn, but they’ll need someone further down the depth chart to step over in Weeks 1 and 2 before going back to a rotational role.

This is a wide-open battle from the outside looking in.

Stantley Thomas-Oliver, Keith Taylor Jr., and Rashaan Melvin are the primary candidates, with all four expected to see a large number of reps against the Baltimore Ravens at Bank of America Stadium.

It won’t be Troy Pride Jr., with the second-year pro rules out for the 2021 season with a serious ACL problem.

Of all the battles on this list. CB4 and CB5 might be the most difficult to decipher. The trio all have some likable traits and shown them at times during training camp. 

Throwing Taylor right in at the deep end could bring a similar fate. Thomas-Oliver showed flashes of quality when he came onto the rotation midway through the 2020 season, with Melvin still something of an unknown quantity considering he opted out of the previous year due to COVID-19 health concerns.

As stated previously, the Ravens are deep at the skill positions. So it will be a challenging game for the cornerbacks and one that has some pretty big ramifications.