4 defensive coordinator candidates if Panthers retain Steve Wilks in 2023

(Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports) Steve Wilks
(Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports) Steve Wilks /
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Carolina Panthers
(Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) Jerome Henderson /

Carolina Panthers could hire Jerome Henderson

Jerome Henderson is currently serving as defensive backs coach for the New York Giants under defensive coordinator Don Martindale. He has been an NFL coach for 15 years, beginning with a focus on player development and scouting prior to settling in as a guru for defensive backs.

Henderson is widely regarded as one of the absolute best secondary coaches in the league, as Martindale recently reiterated. His track record is undeniable, having improved every unit he’s been tasked with leading.

Coaching is about getting the most out of what you’re dealt. Henderson has taken combinations of younger and older players and put them in a position to enjoy their best statistical seasons consistently.

During his stints at each stop, he has been directly involved in the success and progress enjoyed by players such as Darrelle Revis, Joe Haden, Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, Desmond Trufant, and most recently inheriting a Giants secondary that has far exceeded expectations.

Henderson also has local roots, an obvious appeal to Carolina Panthers fans and Steve Wilks alike. Having been raised in Statesville, North Carolina, he then went on to play for Clemson University from 1987-90 en route to becoming a second-round pick by the New England Patriots in the 1991 NFL Draft.

He played for four different NFL teams during his eight seasons, reaching the Super Bowl twice.

There is Henderson’s lack of experience as a defensive coordinator, which would be the main detraction from his candidacy. However, with Wilks having held the position previously, the two could form instant chemistry and understanding.