5 Panthers cornerstones to build around for success beyond 2022

(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) Ikem Ekwonu
(Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) Ikem Ekwonu /
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Carolina Panthers
(Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports) Jaycee Horn /

Jaycee Horn – Carolina Panthers CB

Although it was the briefest of glimpses of Jaycee Horn’s credentials during a frustrating rookie campaign, what the cornerback produced before breaking his foot in Week 3 at the Houston Texans whet the appetite for what might come upon his return to full health.

The No. 8 overall selection in 2021 looked like a shutdown presence. But doubts surfaced about the quality of opposition and whether a training camp compilation would prevent him from making a difference immediately.

Horn has featured in 10 of the 12 games this season. More importantly, his production for the Carolina Panthers from a coverage standpoint is exactly why those in power opted to take the South Carolina product over quarterback Justin Fields.

While there are some fans still harboring bitterness about this move given how Fields is progressing in Year 2, the Panthers gave up too much in the Sam Darnold trade at the time and had many other needs to fill.

Horn’s giving up just 51.2 percent of targets thrown in his direction and is conceding an impressive 48.3 passer rating when targeted. While others generate more in the way of headlines, the second-year-pro is having an exceptional campaign despite his lack of NFL experience and there could be even more to come in the future.

The sky is the limit for Horn. He’ll forever be linked with Fields for obvious reasons, but his presence within Carolina’s secondary is absolutely vital for any future success.