With the 8th pick of the 2021 draft the Panthers select, Jaycee Horn. Now I can’t tell you how glad I am we went for a CB over Slater, who no doubt is talented but in my opinion, not a top 10 pick. With a division who has Chris Godwin, Mike Evans, Michael Thomas, Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley and now the addition of TE Kyle Pitts, a CB with the athleticism of Horn was much needed. While we have Donte Jackson and picking up A.J Bouye in free agency, Horn was a must for the Panthers secondary.
Jaycee Horn, son of 4 x Pro bowl receiver Joe Horn is a 6ft physical cornerback who is very familiar with the aggressive press style that the Panthers need for the division we’re in. Jaycee played his college football in South Carolina after changing his mind last minute from the University of Tennessee. He started 10 of 11 games as a freshman racking up 45 tackles and 2 sacks, helping him become named freshman All-SEC. He then went on to record another 40 tackles and a single sack before opting out of the 2020 season, following the dismissal of head coach Will Muschamp to concentrate on the 2021 NFL draft. Horn has impressive stats versus some highly rated receivers. He kept a number of high round draft prospects to next to no yards when matched up against him, one being new Falcon TE, Kyle Pitts. Jaycee managed to keep Pitts to just 20 yards when they matched up only completing one target. He also kept Broncos’ Jerry Jeudy to a measly 7 yards. Hopefully he can bring these performances from the off at Carolina.
Horn’s pro day
Having opted out of the 2020 season with South Carolina there was a lot riding on his pro day, and boy did he show up. At 6ft and weighing in at 205 pounds he ran a blistering 40 yard dash, clocking in at 4.39 seconds. If that wasn’t impressive enough he had an 11 ft 1″ broad jump, bested only by 5 other players who competed in the 2020 NFL draft combine. Horn also managed an impressive 19 reps in the bench press, putting him ahead of Surtain II for many analysts with his magnificent pro day.
I think we can all agree, Pitts was everyone’s preferred pick for the Panthers who haven’t really replaced Olssen since he left. When Pitts went to Atlanta Falcons at 4 I was genuinely worried we’d waste our top 10 pick. With Sewell going to Detroit Lions the pick before us, I had no idea what we’d do. Jaycee Horn, Patrick Surtain II, Micah Parsons, Rashawn Slater and Justin Fields were still available. I thought we’d go Fields, just in case Sam Darnold does turn out to be a flop and worst case scenario we took Slater. Selecting Jaycee over any of the others I’ve mentioned shows that we had a clear plan to draft him and looking back at it, I couldn’t be happier. Matt Rhule is building a defence that will challenge any offence. The last cornerback drafted in the first round by Carolina was Chris Gamble, who is still leading the franchise with most interceptions at 27, hopefully going all in on Horn in the first round is an indication of the player he will become.
With the other acquisitions that were made in the draft alongside free agency, the Carolina Panthers are in a great position going into next season and I feel Jaycee Horn, will be the catalyst to our play off challenging season.