5 unsung heroes from the Carolina Panthers preseason finale

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Brady Christensen
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Brady Christensen /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Donte Jackson /

Donte Jackson – Carolina Panthers CB

One of the biggest takeaways from the game came in the form of a dominant performance by the Carolina Panthers defense. It was Mike Tomlin’s second string they were going up against, but the production from every level was very encouraging nonetheless.

There were plenty who gained more headlines than Donte Jackson. But he showed exactly why hopes are so high for the cornerback providing the LSU product can stay healthy.

Jackson was assured in coverage with No. 8 overall selection Jaycee Horn opposite him in the first half. He came up with two huge stops on third down and looked like a real force for a defense that could be set for great things in 2021.

This is a huge few months ahead for Jackson. The former second-round pick is in the final year of his rookie deal and if he displays the sort of consistency we witnessed following the Week 13 bye in 2020 for the entire campaign, then a big payday should be in the offing.

Whether that will be something the Panthers are willing to do is unclear. The previous regime was renowned for letting cornerbacks leave well ahead of time, so Scott Fitterer and company would be wise to keep Jackson around in this scenario.

Jackson looks energized and – more importantly – free of any health concerns for the time being.