I’ve got to be honest: writing about the Panther safeties last week was a chore, due in large part to their total lack of quality talent or upside (still shocked they didn’t use a high pick on a safety). Unfortunately, writing about their cornerbacks is similarly mundane. The group had been buoyed for years by All-Pro Josh Norman, but after losing him to the Redskins they’ve struggled to put a consistent product on the field.
Third year pro James Bradberry has been the Panthers primary cover corner the last two seasons with mixed results: he was solid as a rookie, but struggled last season to the tune of a brutal 42.4 grade from Pro Football Focus. Instead of adjusting their philosophy, the Panthers opted to throw Bradberry into the fire as a “shadow” corner, tasked with following the opposing team’s best receiver. Last season seemed to shake Carolina’s confidence in that strategy a bit, so they selected LSU’s Donte Jackson in the third round of this year’s draft.
At 5’11, 175 lbs Jackson is the type of corner the Buccaneers would love. Unlike the Buccaneers’ group of small corners however, Jackson has truly unique speed that can match up with almost any receiver – he ran a reported 4.31 at his pro day, for reference. Jackson will be competing with Captain Munnerlyn and Ross Cockrell, so I think the rook will earn the job rather early into camp. Against the Buccaneers you can expect to see their Jackson on our Jackson, with Bradberry taking on Evans.