5 Panthers players facing a make-or-break second preseason game

(Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports) Will Grier
(Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports) Will Grier /
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Carolina Panthers
(Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports) Jalen Julius /

Jalen Julius – Carolina Panthers CB

There is now an open regular-season spot on the Carolina Panthers roster at cornerback after Troy Pride Jr. went to the reserve/injured list following an ACL tear that will keep him out for the entire campaign. This represents a significant opportunity for someone like Jalen Julius to be among the 53 when the final cuts are made.

Julius needs to raise his game from the first preseason outing at the Indianapolis Colts. The defensive back gave up a couple of big plays and although there were some nice moments, it’s clear more is needed to convince the coaching staff he’s worth keeping around.

He struggled to find a role for himself with the Kansas City Chiefs in 2020 before joining the Panthers. Julius was a four-year starter at Ole Miss and has some likable physical attributes, but the competition for places is fierce at the position despite Pride’s stroke of bad luck.

Donte Jackson, Jaycee Horn, and A.J. Bouye form what could be a fantastic starting trio. Stantley Thomas-Oliver III has enjoyed a fine training camp, Rashaan Melvin might make the team, and hopes remain high for fifth-round selection Keith Taylor Jr.

This means Julius has his work cut out. If he cannot bounce back from a disappointing first warmup game, the writing might be on the wall regarding his future in Carolina.