C.J. Henderson - Carolina Panthers CB
It's been encouraging to see C.J. Henderson rise to the challenge this offseason. The cornerback didn't get his fifth-year option picked up as expected, but he's worked hard to make improvements and taken on board enhanced coaching to remain part of the Carolina Panthers' plans in 2023.
Henderson has no trouble showing out during camp drills and the preseason. But when the lights get brighter and the pressure cooker turns up a notch, that's when complications emerge.
This will be something Ejiro Evero and his staff should monitor closely over the opening few games. Henderson has the talent, but that counts for nothing if the mental side of things isn't up to standard against elite-level offenses that will identify him as a weak link quickly.
The Panthers had no trouble giving up on Keith Taylor Jr. despite a distinct lack of depth within the cornerback room. Troy Hill's presence should help, but the onus is on Henderson and others to remain healthy and increase their performance levels to a degree that makes things easier for other defensive position groups.
Easier said than done, but Henderson has all the motivation needed for a genuine bounce-back campaign. If everything turns sour, then this will go down as another failed trade by the front office in pursuit of progression.