Jaycee Horn – Carolina Panthers CB
- No. 8 overall selection
Once the Carolina Panthers made their bold trade for Sam Darnold, it appeared unlikely that those in power would select a quarterback from the college ranks. But when Justin Fields fell into their laps, large sections of the fanbase were hoping for a change of course.
As it turned out, the Panthers stuck to their guns and drafted Jaycee Horn at No. 8 overall. This filled another defensive need at the cornerback position and after a phenomenal start to his rookie campaign, it looked like Carolina made the right call.
This came to an abrupt halt in Week 3 when Horn suffered a broken foot that brought his promising opening to an end. Complications in camp earlier this summer left the Panthers with no option other than to take things slowly with the South Carolina product, which further raised trepidation levels ahead of 2022.
Horn probably heard all the ongoing concerns. But his production last season was in the elite class of coverage cornerbacks before another cruel injury ruled him out at the worst possible time.
Opposing quarterbacks actively avoided Horn and often paid the price when they did throw in his direction. Had the player been healthy for Week 17 against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the outcome may have been different.
Draft Grade: A
Fields might go on to have a brilliant career. But that does not detract from what a key component Horn is to any success that comes Carolina’s way long-term.