Although Ball was drafted as a cornerback coming out of college, he started an entire year at free safety for the Dallas Cowboys in 2010. According to Pro Football Focus, Ball gave up 7 touchdowns and had an opposing QB rating of 105.2 in coverage that year. Following his disastrous 2010 season, Ball was moved back to cornerback.
In 2013 he signed with the Jacksonville Jaguars, where he enjoyed the best year of his career. Ball started all 16 games at cornerback, and recorded 13 pass breakups and two interceptions. His 2014 season was cut short after he suffered a biceps injury Week 7 against the Cleveland Browns.
The 29-year-old Ball has excellent size, at 6-foot-2 inches and 197 pounds. Ball is an off-man and zone corner with good tackling ability and good instincts. He also showed the ability to play the ball in the air. However, Ball has stiffer hips and over commits on deeper routes by giving too much underneath cushion, which makes him highly susceptible to comeback or curl routes.
Here is an example against Antonio Brown:
Ball is too slow to turn his hips. Brown is able to get an easy five yards of seperation.
Here is another example of Ball's stiffer hips. This time he is going up against Keenan Allen. He is unable to quickly turn around, and as a result is a second too late playing the ball in the air.
Although Ball has some flaws, if he can fully recover from his 2014 injury, he will likely start on the outside at the cornerback position, opposite Josh Norman, and Bene Benwikere will move to the slot cornerback position.
There seem to be conflicting reports. David Newton of ESPN is reporting that this is a done deal:
Confirmed, #Panthers have reached a one-year deal with former Jaguars CB Alan Ball.— David Newton (@DNewtonespn) March 19, 2015
However, Joe Person of the Charlotte Observer is saying the two sides have not yet agreed to a contract:
No transactions for #Panthers today. Still looking good that CB Alan Ball will sign, likely tomorrow at this point.— Joe Person (@josephperson) March 19, 2015
Ball has left Charlotte without signing the contract. Supposedly he now has interest from other teams. I apologize for publishing too early, and have slightly slightly edited my original post.
Alan Ball left Charlotte today w/o signing a contract. Could still happen, but it remains fluid. #Panthers— Black & Blue Review (@BlackBlueReview) March 20, 2015