Are Panthers’ fans expecting too much from Jaycee Horn in 2021?

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Jaycee Horn
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Jaycee Horn /

Jaycee Horn comes to the Carolina Panthers with bags of potential, but are fans expecting too much from the rookie cornerback in 2021?

There’s no denying Jaycee Horn has been a breath of fresh air since arriving on the Carolina Panthers. The team identified the South Carolina product as a prospect of real interest during the evaluation process following an outstanding college career, eventually taking the plunge and selecting him at No. 8 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft.

This move has the potential to completely shift the needle when it comes to Carolina’s secondary, who went through some serious troubles in 2020 thanks in no small part to Donte Jackson’s frustrating toe injury that lasted up until the Week 13 bye.

Passing on Justin Fields was a huge call to make. And there’s a big chance the Panthers would have gone with Oregon offensive tackle Penei Sewell had he fallen one more spot past the Detroit Lions at No. 7.

This should not detract from what an exciting talent Horn is. He is a huge cornerback that has the physicality and athleticism to match, with his alpha mentality something else that should improve Carolina’s defense as the season goes on.

Horn made his presence felt throughout training camp. His production in the team’s preseason finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers did nothing to dispel the notion he’ll become a star in no time at all once he finds his feet in the pros.

However, if fans are expecting Horn to become a shutdown corner from the moment he steps onto the gridiron, they might be out of luck.

History is littered with top college corners who fluffed their lines against bigger wide receivers that punish even the slightest errors. Most turn it around over time if they have the skills, but a cornerback’s period of adjustment is longer than most other positions due to the island they often find themselves on.

Only time will tell as to whether Horn will join this list or be the exception to the rule.

But one has every right to be cautious about the player’s immediate influence.

Horn knows what it takes to be a success in the NFL. His father Joe Horn was a Pro Bowl wide receiver and has even moved close to his son in Charlotte to oversee his progress and provide additional support when needed.

Joe Horn cannot step onto the field. As much as he’d probably like to.

Matt Rhule stated that Horn needs to stop being so hands-on with wideouts to thrive. Something that could come with plenty of penalties if it’s not eradicated from his game early on.

If anyone can break the mold, it’s Horn.

Although the player selected one place after – Patrick Surtain – also comes with this sort of upside.

While others probably shied away from the responsibility, Horn is clearly relishing it so far. Things will get much tougher under the spotlight in the regular season, so it’ll be interesting to see how Horn reacts to this on a defense that’s got plenty going for it in 2021.

Advice to fans would be this.

Must Read. 6 Carolina Panthers players entering 2021 season with genuine superstar potential. light

Hope for the absolute best where Horn is concerned – he has the talent to stamp his authority early and often. But keep the bigger picture in mind when things inevitably don’t go his way on occasions.