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Jaycee Horn Drafted by Panthers: Carolina's Updated Depth Chart After Round 1

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistApril 30, 2021

South Carolina defensive back Jaycee Horn plays against Vanderbilt in the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Oct. 10, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)
Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

The Carolina Panthers drafted Jaycee Horn with the eighth overall pick of the 2021 NFL draft on Thursday.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

Jaycee Horn answers the Panthers call, following in his father’s footsteps into the NFL 📞 https://t.co/ckF8Fl1GwX

The South Carolina cornerback is the son of Joe Horn, who had a 12-year NFL career as a wideout for the Kansas City Chiefs, New Orleans Saints and Atlanta Falcons

Here's a look at Carolina's updated depth chart with Horn now in the fold:

             

LDE: Brian Burns, Morgan Fox

DT: Bravvion Roy, Frank Herron

DT: Derrick Brown, Mike Panasiuk

RDE: Yetur Gross-Matos, Austin Larkin

OLB: Shaq Thompson, Frankie Luvu

MLB: Denzel Perryman, Daniel Bituli

OLB: Hasson Reddick, Jermaine Carter Jr.

CB: Jaycee Horn*, Donte Jackson, A.J. Bouye

CB: Troy Pride Jr., Rashaan Melvin

FS: Jeremy Chinn, Sean Chandler

SS: Juston Burris, Sam Franklin

          

Depth chart info provided by Ourlads and Over the Cap.

                    

So, what will Horn bring to the table for the Panthers?

Well, he has a chance to be an excellent starting corner. An NFC personnel man told Lance Zierlein of NFL.com: "There just aren't many corners in this league who have his traits and his man-cover talent. I think he's got a chance to be special."

Zierlein compared Horn to longtime NFL corner Jimmy Smith, noting that his size (6'1" and 200 pounds), physicality, coverage versatility and ability to handle either outside or slot receivers were his strengths, while he'll likely have to clean up his technique at the professional level to avoid getting routinely flagged for pass interference at the NFL level. 

His stats don't jump off the page either, with just two career interceptions at South Carolina despite being a three-year starter, though he did have 23 passes defended, three sacks and two forced fumbles. 

Still, his physical profile should translate to the NFL game, and having a father who had a long and successful NFL career should help his transition to the professional game as well. 

One scout told Bob McGinn of The Athletic of Horn: "Plays the game the right way. He's a big, physical guy on the outside, which is hard to find these days."

"I'm not sold on him yet," another scout added. "He kind of scares me. He's got wonderful size. He can be inside, outside. You can match him up. He's a physical player. He's a good athlete, not a great athlete."

There are very few guaranteed locks at the NFL draft each year, with prospects bringing NFL-ready traits and legitimate weaknesses they'll hope to overcome. The prospects who become starting players, or even stars, are generally those who learn to mitigate their weaker traits. 

If Horn does just that, he could end up having as long a NFL career as his father. Carolina is banking on it. The Panthers will want him to anchor a secondary that allowed 239.1 yards per game and a 98.4 opponent passer rating in 2020.