5 burning questions facing the Carolina Panthers secondary in 2021

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Donte Jackson, A.J. Bouye and Jaycee Horn
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Donte Jackson, A.J. Bouye and Jaycee Horn /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Donte Jackson /

Can Donte Jackson stay healthy?

There is no disputing the skill Donte Jackson has in coverage. That was there for all to see over the final few games of 2020.

It’s keeping the talented cornerback healthy that’s the problem.

Jackson was set to become a No. 1 option for the Carolina Panthers after those in power decided to let James Bradberry leave for the New York Giants in free agency. However, the former second-round pick dealt with a frustrating toe problem for most of the season, which meant he wasn’t able to make the sort of contribution needed.

This is a huge year for the LSU product heading into a contract season. Jackson has to perform at a high level and more importantly, stay relatively free of injury to justify a big pay increase potentially coming his way next spring.

Not only this, but Jackson also has an intriguing fight for alpha status on his hands following Carolina’s decision to select Jaycee Horn at No. 8 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. This is only going to benefit the Panthers, with both players entering the season with shutdown potential.

The stakes are high for Jackson in the coming months. Additional weapons around him will help, but that won’t be the only thing that determines whether or not he’ll be offered a new deal.