5 Carolina Panthers players who need a strong preseason in 2022

(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Daviyon Nixon and Dennis Daley
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Daviyon Nixon and Dennis Daley /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Kalon Barnes /

Kalon Barnes – Carolina Panthers CB

Despite all the injury concerns surrounding the cornerbacks in training camp, Kalon Barnes’ name hasn’t come up all that much based on reports from those in attendance. The seventh-round selection has a previous connection to Matt Rhule from their time together at Baylor, but expecting the raw prospect to emerge onto the rotation immediately was always a tough ask.

Barnes left a huge impression at the NFL Scouting Combine after running one of the fastest 40-yard dash times ever recorded. However, his coverage skills need some significant work, even if the athleticism and room for growth are there for all to see.

One thing that could complicate Barnes’ hopes is the current strength of Carolina’s defensive backs under the guidance of Steve Wilks. It looks as if Jaycee Horn, Donte Jackson, Keith Taylor Jr., C.J. Henderson, and Myles Hartsfield are locks to make the roster, which leaves other hopefuls perhaps focusing more on special teams influence to get their foot in the door.

This is an area where Barnes could potentially assist while getting other areas of his game up to standard. His explosiveness and top-end speed are exceptional, but much will also depend on how he performs when reps come his way in warmup games.

What comes next is down to Barnes. It’s a lot of pressure for someone so young, but these are the situations where he needs to thrive in pursuit of carving out a successful NFL career.