2020 Panthers Roster First Look: Secondary

Jason Huber
May 21, 2020 - 11:13 am

The Carolina Panthers should be holding rookie minicamps and OTAs right now, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic shutting the sports world down, fans are left speculating on how the Panthers roster will look. 

Even With last month’s draft completed, there’s still the possibility of some late moves before training camp is tentatively scheduled to start. 

WFNZ will take a look at each Carolina position over the next few weeks to see where each group stands. 

SECONDARY

Roster: CB: Eli Apple; Donte Jackson; Troy Pride Jr. (Rookie); Corn Elder; Natrell Jamerson; Stantley Thomas-Oliver (Rookie); T.J. Green; Myles Hartsfield (Rookie); Derek Thomas (Rookie); Cole Luke. Safety: Tre Boston; Juston Burris; Quin Blanding; Jeremy Chinn (Rookie); Kenny Robinson (Rookie) 

Key losses: James Bradberry; Eric Reid; Ross Cockrell 

Notable moves: Bradberry, Carolina’s top corner signed with the New York Giants.

At safety, the Panthers released Reid, re-signed Boston to a three-year deal and signed Burris to a one-year deal. 

In the 2020 NFL Draft, Carolina selected Chinn in the second round, Pride Jr. in the fourth, Robinson in the fifth and Thomas-Oliver in the seventh to fill out the secondary.

They signed Apple late in free agency to a one-year, $3 million deal.

Outlook: The secondary was one of the team’s biggest weaknesses in 2019 and with not much improvement, it’ll likely be a struggle once again.

With Bradberry no longer around, Jackson will be the team’s top corner in his third-year and despite having speed and talent, he has had a lot of mental mistakes on the field and hasn’t shown true consistency. 

The team signed former New York Giants and New Orleans Saints cornerback Apple to a one-year deal on May 28 and he is expected to slide in next to Jackson.

Apple should be a solid starter but has had disciplinary issues so far in his four-year career.

In the last three years, Apple has led the team in penalties and needs to clean that up to be a viable starting cornerback.

Pride Jr., a rookie, is slotted to be the No. 3 cornerback and will now have time to learn the defense with the addition of Apple.

Not only is Pride Jr. a rookie but he is a bit undersized and will have a big learning curve before he can make an impact. 

At safety, things are a little better with Boston set to start at free safety and Burris at strong safety. Carolina will have depth with Chinn and Anderson. 

Chinn has the capability to play corner as well. 

Overall expectations: It won’t be pretty unless Apple makes a bigger impact than he has with the Giants and Saints.

Jackson needs to take a big leap and Pride Jr. will have to learn the playbook quickly.

Last season, Carolina gave up tons of big plays and that will likely continue with a plethora of young players at the position. 

With a limited offseason, it’ll be tough for some of the rookies to make an immediate impact and there will be struggles until they adjust. 

Other positions: Quarterbacks, Running backs, Wide receivers, Tight ends, Offensive line, Linebackers, Defensive line

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