4 Panthers with everything to gain from final two games in 2022

(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Raheem Blackshear
(Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports) Raheem Blackshear /
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Carolina Panthers
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) Keith Taylor Jr. /

Keith Taylor Jr. – Carolina Panthers CB

Things never run entirely according to plan where the Carolina Panthers are concerned. Another fine example of this came in Week 16 when their impressive triumph over the Detroit Lions was tainted by a concerning injury to Jaycee Horn.

The stud cornerback successfully underwent surgery on a broken wrist that rules him out for this weekend’s pivotal clash with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Depending on how Carolina fares, the former South Carolina standout could strap it up and take the field for the team’s season finale versus the New Orleans Saints.

This puts the onus on Keith Taylor Jr. to step up and make his presence felt. The 2021 fifth-round pick was torched when tasked with starting reps against the Pittsburgh Steelers, so he can ill afford any similar failings with Tom Brady more than capable of exposing weaknesses.

While Taylor might never end up becoming a true No. 1 or even a No. 2, giving up on him entirely would be foolish at this juncture. His length and physicality can be an asset – which the Washington product has already demonstrated during his brief NFL career so far.

The Panthers brought in Josh Norman as a veteran insurance policy in the event Taylor fluffs his lines. But a strong end to the campaign could enhance the second-year pro’s chances of more involvement next time around under Steve Wilks or another head coach.