4 Carolina Panthers whose stock soared after 2024 roster revamp

Things are looking up for these Carolina Panthers players.
Austin Corbett
Austin Corbett / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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With the NFL Draft in the rearview mirror and the dog days of summer upon us, the Carolina Panthers roster has begun to take its final form.

Head coach Dave Canales and general manager Dan Morgan were busy during the spring tending to a team that posted the worst overall record in 2023. This began by fortifying the offensive line and defense in free agency through the additions of Damien Lewis, Robert Hunt, Jadeveon Clowney, and Jordan Fuller.

They also drafted and signed offensive weapons in Diontae Johnson, Xavier Legette, Jonathan Brooks, Rashaad Penny, and Ja’Tavion Sanders. These additions look to make the offense much deeper than last season, where a poor cast led to the fourth-worst offensive EPA (expected points added) per play in the league.

Still, there is a good deal of work that remains to be done on the roster. The starting 11 on defense took a step back after the losses of Brian Burns, Donte Jackson, Frankie Luvu, Yetur Gross-Matos, Vonn Bell, and Jeremy Chinn. The remaining cap space to lure in free agents is tight, making the prospect of a high-impact signing like Stephon Gilmore an increasingly remote possibility.

With further free agent help unlikely to be on the way, the team will have to turn towards in-house solutions or the waiver wire to address gaps on the roster. This opens the door for players previously buried on the depth chart or otherwise written off to emerge as legitimate contributors.

On this topic, here are four Panthers players with soaring stock after Morgan's roster revamp in 2024.

Dane Jackson - Carolina Panthers CB

With no word on the signing of a potential starter in free agency and fifth-rounder Chau Smith-Wade being the only addition made through the draft, Dane Jackson will be the team’s official No. 2 cornerback moving forward.

This is a major opportunity for Jackson, who spent his first four seasons as a backup with the Buffalo Bills. Though some were turned off by his size, he had a fan in Dan Morgan, who personally advocated for his old employers to take him with a seventh-round selection in 2020. His best season came in 2022, where he started 14 games and tallied 57 tackles to go alongside 12 passes defended.

His numbers declined in 2023. Teams ran deep routes on him, where his size became more of an issue. The opposing quarterback's rating when targeting Jackson rose from 82.1 to 109.6. The Bills, deep at cornerback, elected not to bring him back for 2024.

Morgan remained a fan and brought Jackson in on a generous two-year, $8 million deal with incentives. At the time, many assumed he was a depth addition, not a starter, but it has become clear that trust in him is high.

Jackson’s play in Buffalo was promising if unremarkable and exceeded the expectations of a typical seventh-round pick. He also has postseason experience, starting five games for the Bills between 2021 and 2023, so he will provide a crucial locker room presence who understands the pressure of big moments.

The Carolina Panthers will badly need him to take another jump in 2024 and fill the void left by Donte Jackson. He will open the season opposite Jaycee Horn while Troy Hill is expected to play nickel. Given Horn’s poor track record of staying on the field, there is a genuine scenario where Jackson is matching up against opponents’ best receivers at some point this season.

Jackson has a path to respectability and possibly stardom if he can keep the Panthers’ pass defense at even an average level. If he can’t, then the team may be in for some high-scoring games.