5 Carolina Panthers players who could enter draft bust status in 2024

The Carolina Panthers need more from these potential draft busts in 2024.
Ikem Ekwonu
Ikem Ekwonu / Kevin Sabitus/GettyImages
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Jaycee Horn - Carolina Panthers CB

  • No. 8 overall | 2021 NFL Draft

Jaycee Horn was well worth the No. 8 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft based on talent alone. The cornerback is one of the league's best outside coverage presences at the top of his game. He's a potential cornerstone piece for the Carolina Panthers and a pivotal part of their plans for growth under new head coach Dave Canales next season.

So why does Horn land on a list of potential draft busts?

To cut a long story short, availability.

Horn's problems staying healthy are well documented. He's featured 22 times over three seasons thanks to a series of frustrating issues. The same trend continued last season when the former South Carolina star went down with a seriously torn hamstring that cut his campaign short after just six games.

This was another body blow for the player. However, the Panthers placed a tremendous amount of faith in Horn this offseason by triggering his fifth-year option.

While this is positive for Horn, the Panthers had an ulterior motive. The cost made it a no-brainer if he puts a consistent run of games together and performs to the level he's capable of. If the same problems continue, those in power have an extra year on his deal to potentially get something back in return via the trade market.

That's the worst-case scenario - something Horn and the Panthers are looking to avoid at all costs. The defensive back changed his offseason approach before returning to the team facility in pursuit of improved fortunes on the health front. This seems to be having the desired effect so far, but it's a situation worth monitoring with cautious optimism nonetheless.

Horn has an opportunity to become an elite-level player. All the Georgia native has to do is stay on the field. Based on what we've seen over his first three seasons in a professional environment, it could legitimately go either way.