Panthers News: Julius Peppers, Jaycee Horn, C.J. Henderson and Bryce Young

Julius Peppers
Julius Peppers / Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
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Carolina Panthers CB Jaycee Horn's goals

This season is a big one for Jaycee Horn. The Carolina Panthers are expecting the cornerback to take another step forward and enter the conversation for the league's best, especially considering those in power have done very little to bolster their options around the former first-round selection throughout the offseason.

While there's a chance that might change before Week 1 at the Atlanta Falcons rolls around, the onus is on Horn to lock down one side of the field. The one-time South Carolina star must also stay healthy for an entire campaign - a task he's been unable to accomplish so far.

Thankfully, this is also something recognized by the player. When speaking to Joe Person of The Athletic via Pro Football Talk, Horn acknowledged the need to stay fit and firing for a 17-game schedule, although the defensive back acknowledged he could do nothing to prevent soft tissue injuries when push came to shove.

"Obviously, I can’t control some of the injuries I had. That’s nobody’s fault, here or there. I’ve got to be available, be on the field, and goals like that — that stuff will take care of itself with playing good football. We play a dangerous sport. I just had bad luck these first two years. So hopefully I can stay on the field this next year."

Jaycee Horn via Pro Football Talk

Unless C.J. Henderson, Donte Jackson, and Keith Taylor Jr. improve drastically, then one could make a strong argument for Horn being Carolina's most important defensive player in 2023. A challenge he must be ready for with the player's fifth-year option decision looming.