Donte Jackson – Carolina Panthers CB
Another player that was hugely supportive of Steve Wilks is Donte Jackson. The cornerback developed a close relationship with the interim and made no secret of his desire for this move to be made permanent, which fell on deaf ears.
Jackson endured a rough ride in 2022 after signing a new contract before free agency. His coverage consistency wasn’t where it needed to be despite the odd turnover or two and the former second-round pick tore his Achilles late in proceedings to further heighten concerns.
Depending on the severity of this complication, it might be a long road back for Jackson. A worst-case scenario could also emerge where he never gets back to his explosive self.
This is something for the Carolina Panthers to monitor and support in equal measure. If they are unconvinced by Jackson’s ability to produce within a cornerback room that went through difficulties outside of Jaycee Horn in 2022, then getting a draft pick or two back cannot be ruled out.
While it’s doubtful any team takes this plunge when Jackson is rehabbing a significant injury, Wilks could convince the San Francisco 49ers to make their move if everything checks out medically next year. A move that would be well received by the player after so long lingering on an underachieving franchise.