4 Panthers players who must raise their game vs. 49ers in Week 5

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) Yetur Gross-Matos
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) Yetur Gross-Matos /
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Carolina Panthers
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) C.J. Henderson /

C.J. Henderson – Carolina Panthers CB

Behind the dynamic duo that is Jaycee Horn and Donte Jackson – and even dating back to the days of James Bradburry and Josh Norman – slot corner has always been a question mark that the Carolina Panthers have never been able to nail down. That trend has continued in 2022.

C.J. Henderson has all the talent in the world. The physical skills that all teams treasure, but where the young cornerback lags behind is in the football IQ needed to perform at the NFL level.

These mental lapses have begun to stack up and this does not bode well. Even given the relative lack of depth behind him.

Whether it was the needless pass interference that led to a Cleveland Browns touchdown in Week 1 or being caught on the backfoot more often than not against the Arizona Cardinals, it is a concerning trend. Especially when you look at how the San Francisco 49ers utilize their passing game.

The 49ers love to run shallow crossing routes with Brandon Ayuk and Deebo Samuel. Plays that prey on defenders who tend to take a wrong first step and give the receiver just enough separation to make the catch.

If Henderson can’t clean up these mental mistakes on Sunday, the Niners are going to feast up the middle because there aren’t many linebackers on the Carolina Panthers capable of picking up the slack.