5 players the Panthers can’t risk sneaking onto practice squad in 2022

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Kalon Barnes
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Kalon Barnes /
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Carolina Panthers
(Chuck Cook-USA TODAY Sports) Kalon Barnes /

Kalon Barnes – Carolina Panthers CB

After taking the NFL Scouting Combine by storm, Kalon Barnes had to wait an extremely long time before hearing his name called during the draft. The prospect clocked one of the fastest-ever 40-yard dash times to generate some media attention, but teams were wary about his ability to harness this in a positive fashion on the field.

Matt Rhule knows more than most about what Barnes could potentially bring to the Carolina Panthers. He worked with the cornerback closely during their time together at Baylor and the head coach felt like it was a risk worth taking at No. 242 overall.

Barnes is very rough around the edges. There’s absolutely no getting away from that and it will be interesting to see how quickly he can benefit from working alongside some talented players and new defensive backs coach Steve Wilks in training camp.

Asking Barnes to come in and make a serious impact on the rotation is a stretch. But the Panthers have Jaycee Horn, Donte Jackson, Keith Taylor, and C.J. Henderson, so there is no pressure on the seventh-round pick whatsoever.

His speed and athleticism might make a bigger impression on special teams while other areas of his game get up to speed. Barnes has too much upside for the Panthers to try and sneak him onto their practice squad in the hope another franchise doesn’t notice.