Over the last week or so, we have gone position group by position group to hand out our end of season grades. Today, we take a look back at the Carolina Panthers' cornerbacks and how they performed in 2020.
My Overall Grade: C
The Panthers were 18th in the league in passing defense, allowing 239.1 yards per game through the air. There were some games where the secondary showed out and there were some games where the secondary forgot to show up.
Coming into the season, the Panthers were incredibly thin at corner. Donte Jackson was the only experienced healthy player on the roster as Eli Apple was dealing with an injured hamstring. Just days before the start of the season, Carolina picked up former Philadelphia Eagle, Rasul Douglas, and it turned out to be a decent move.
Jackson was unable to stay healthy as he dealt with a nagging toe injury that would force him to remove himself from games due to the discomfort it was causing. His toe was not getting any better and that's a pretty tough injury for anyone to deal with, especially a corner who has to stop and go all the time.
When I look at the guys in the Panthers' cornerback room, I see two glaring issues. One, I don't see a shutdown guy that can lock someone up on any given Sunday, and two, the depth needs to be addressed badly. Donte Jackson can certainly be a No. 1 corner but is he really a shutdown type of corner? I don't think he is. Rasul Douglas is a solid vet to have around but can be way too inconsistent.
For me, Corn Elder was the biggest surprise. I didn't expect him to see the field much at all and he played well above his expectations. However, I see Elder's ceiling as a No. 3 corner, not a starter.
Rookies Stanley Thomas-Oliver III and Troy Pride Jr. just need more time to work and develop. They showed glimpses of what they can do but they're not close to being starters or making a legitimate impact.
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