4 underachieving Panthers players who must step up in 2022

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Ian Thomas
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Ian Thomas /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) C.J. Henderson /

C.J. Henderson – Carolina Panthers CB

When the Carolina Panthers struck a deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars for C.J. Henderson, it was done with the long-term in mind. It was always going to be a gradual process for the former first-round pick, who was low on confidence after a rough start to his career and needed to be integrated slowly before potentially making a bigger impact in 2022.

The cornerback came into the NFL with shutdown capabilities following a standout college career at Florida. Henderson found life difficult within a struggling organization and his commitment to improving was also called into question before the team cut their losses entirely.

Henderson was active 10 times for the Panthers last season, starting five games. He gave up 75.9 percent of targets throwing his way and a 121.6 passer rating when targeted, which indicates there is much work ahead for the player in the coming weeks.

The early reports have been positive where Henderson is concerned. He has adopted a fresh mindset and is also benefitting from the presence of defensive backs coach Steve Wilks to unlock his undoubted athletic attributes.

It won’t be easy for Henderson with Jaycee Horn, Donte Jackson, and Keith Taylor Jr. also expected to gain their fair share of reps. If he doesn’t make strides this season, then things will grow increasingly bleak regarding his status.