5 greatest Carolina Panthers positions of need before 2024 NFL Draft

As the NFL Draft looms, the Carolina Panthers' depth chart has several holes that need addressing.
Tommy Tremble
Tommy Tremble / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers need another CB

  • Currently rostered: Dicaprio Bootle, Troy Hill, Jaycee Horn, Dane Jackson, Lamar Jackson, D’Shawn Jamison, A.J. Parker.

Like the 3-4 outside linebacker position, this is a unit that has some talent but is missing a proven starter. Especially after the Carolina Panthers traded veteran cornerback Donte Jackson to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Jaycee Horn is elite if healthy, but that's no guarantee. His opposing passer rating when targeted rose from 62.4 in 2022 to 82.1 in 2023, but his tackling numbers and missed tackle percentages both improved. The larger problem for the former South Carolina standout has been staying on the field.

Since being drafted, he has appeared in 22 out of 51 possible games. The departure of Jackson makes him the Panthers' clear-cut CB1, and this season could be his last chance to prove he can play enough to keep the role.

After Horn, Dane Jackson is well-liked by the coaching staff, and Troy Hill played well enough filling last year to get another one-year deal. None of the other names inspire a lot of confidence to play meaningful snaps. If the No. 8 overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft gets hurt again, things may become dire from a depth standpoint.

This is an area where additional help must be added. Stephon Gilmore's name has frequently floated around the Panthers since free agency began, and the team has not been shy about expressing interest in bringing him back to Charlotte on a veteran deal. They currently plan on revisiting the possibility after the draft ends.

That resolution makes it apparent the cornerback position will be looked at during the draft. Several pundits like the prospect of taking Michigan’s Mike Sainristil in the third round, possibly at pick No. 65 or even sooner if he is still available.

Sainristil is a superb zone defender who can play nickel and would fit well in Ejiro Evero's defense, which utilized zone at the third-highest rate in the league during the previous campaign. If he is not an option, the team could turn its attention back to Gilmore while adding depth later on in the draft.